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THE LIFE 

OF 

WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE 




McrD_v.n _nift9 



THE LIFE 



OF 



WILLIAM EWAET 
GLADSTONE 



BY 



HERBERT WOODFIELD PAUL 



WITH A PORTRAIT 



LONDON 
SMITH, ELDER, & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE 

1901 

[All rights resorred] 



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III II 



8 On 





,R-YJ1-Q1G2 



PEEFACE 



This little book is an expansion of the article which 
I wrote for the ' Dictionary of National Biography.' Or 
rather, to be chronologically accurate, the article in the 
Dictionary was an abridgment of this book. Mr. 
Sidney Lee, not only brief himself, but the cause that 
brevity is in other men, was on this occasion most 
generous in the allotment of space. But the career 
of Mr. Gladstone, which was almost beyond example 
crowded with events, caused me to pass the bounds, 
and the article was reduced to about one-third of its 
original size. Messrs. Smith, Elder, & Co. were then 
good enough to suggest that it should appear as it 
originally stood in a volume of its own. They con- 
sidered that it might be useful as a work of reference 
for politicians or students of history. It is a ^dry 
unadorned narrative of facts with their appropriate 
dates, and has no claim to be a formal life of Mr. 
Gladstone. I have made use only of sources open to 
the public and of facts within my own recollection or 
knowledge. The materials at the disposal of Mr. 



vi LIFE OP W. E. GLADST0:NE 

Gladstone's family are in the hands of Mr. Morley, 
whose forthcoming Memoir is expected with such 
eager interest. 

Although I have concealed neither my personal 
admiration for Mr. Gladstone, nor my general agree- 
ment with his policy at home and abroad, I have 
abstained from expressing, and, so far as was possible, 
from implying any opinions of my own. It has been 
my object to tell the story from Mr. Gladstone's own 
point of view, explaining rather than criticising, but 
not without reference to contemporary criticism on the 
one hand, and to the verdict of events on the other. 

My personal acquaintance with Mr. Gladstone was 
slight, and confined to his old age. But he was several 
times good enough to favour me with reminiscences of 
much interest and value. Though I made no note 
of them, it is difficult to forget what Mr. Gladstone 
said. I have not hesitated to avail myself of them so 
far, and so far only, as they threw light upon historic 
incidents whose main features were akeady known. 

Mr. Gladstone's theological tenets and ecclesiastical 
leanings have been indicated with severe brevity. 
This is mainly a record of his political doings, which 
include his political sayings. While pointing out the 
earnestness and consistency of his Ghurchmanship, I 
have not otherwise dealt with it, except where it was 
connected with public affairs. The effect of the 



PREFACE vii 

Gorham case upon his mind could hardly be passed 
over in complete silence. For, although it led to no 
definite act on his part, I believe it to have confirmed 
him in his growing conviction that the patronage of 
the State was injurious to the Church. 

Mr. Gladstone's career is a curious, and probably a 
singular instance of mental development. Although, 
when Macaulay described him as a stem and un- 
bending Tory, he was really a Canningite, he entered 
public life as an opponent of the Eeform Bill, a 
supporter of ecclesiastical establishments, and an 
enemy of all organic change. Most men become 
more Conservative as they grow older. With Mr. 
Gladstone, as with Sir Bobert Peel, the reverse was the 
case. For the last four years of his hfe Peel was a 
Liberal in the modem sense of the term. Had he 
lived to be eighty he might have been a Badical and a 
Democrat, for he had grown to hate the Tories as 
much as they hated him. But he died at sixty-two, 
and the Peelites gradually melted away. Mr. Glad- 
stone was by far the most distinguished of them. He 
was Peel's pupil in politics and finance. In eccle- 
siastical questions he went his own way, which cer- 
tainly was not Peel's. Peel was a worldly, political 
Churchman. Gladstone's sympathies were with the 
advanced section of the High Church, and those who 
knew him superficially believed that he would become 



viii LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

a Eoman Catholic. As a matter of fact, he was 
always loyal to the Church of England, as loyal as 
Pnsey or Keble, though he would have liked to set her 
free from the tranmiels of Erastianism. His eccle- 
siastical principles coloured his public action, and led 
him into those scholastic subtleties which had such an 
irritating effect upon men of the world. He was quite 
unaffected by Darwinian speculations or modem 
thought. Of physical science he knew little or no- 
thing, and for philosophy, except Bishop Butler's, he 
had no taste. It was not through any change of 
intellectual conviction that he became a Liberal. Mr. 
Gladstone was before all things practical. He always 
wanted to be doing something, and was impatient of 
restraint or delay. The first Cabinet in which he sat — 
Peel's — ^was perhaps the most efl&cient and business- 
like of the last century. Next to it was the Cabinet 
over which he presided himself from 1868 to 1874. 

Feel broke up Toryism, at least for the time, and 
founded Conservatism. But Conservatism was only 
the negative side of his creed. He believed in steady 
and gradual progress. Although his will was strong 
and his temper stiff, his mind was flexible, and he 
was always open to argument if the argument was 
of a practical kind. Such a book as Gladstone's 
'Church and State* was to him * stuff.' No good 
could come of it ; it had no relation with the realities 



PEEFACE ix 

of public life. Gladstone himself came to see that this 
was so. His ideal community, which was really a 
theocracy, had no more chance of being embodied in 
England than Plato's Eepublic had. Gladstone was not 
the man to waste labour and energy in pursuing the 
unattainable. His book, as he said, made no disciples. 
It was bom out of due time. He voted for the 
endowment, or rather the increased endowment, of 
Maynooth, because Eoman Catholicism was the re- 
ligion of Ireland. On the same occasion he formally 
abandoned the principles of * Church and State.' From 
and after the year 1845 he was at heart a Voluntaryist, 
and when he came to disestablish the Irish Church he 
had no scruples to overcome. Within that quarter of 
a century he had swung slowly round from the party of 
stagnation to the party of change. Free Trade was the 
schoolmaster that brought Peel to Liberalism. With 
Gladstone it was rather the failure of his own early 
beliefs when applied to the business of government. 
At the bottom of many active and powerful minds there 
is a feeling that if you cannot get what you want, you 
may do anything you like. Mr. Gladstone, as a 
Christian and a morahst, would have disavowed such 
a doctrine. But it is nevertheless true that he was 
started on the path which led him to the leadership of 
the Liberal party by discovering the impossibility of a 
dogmatic and authoritative State Church. 



X LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

It is notorious that long after Feel's death Mr. 
Gladstone received overtures from the Conservatives. 
Even in 1858 Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli did not 
despair of him. Even in 1859 he voted against the 
whole Liberal party in favour of Lord Derby's 
Administration. Immediately afterwards, for reasons 
fully considered in their proper place, he joined the 
Government which succeeded Lord Derby's, and be- 
came Lord Palmerston's Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
Thereupon he left the Carlton Club, and the Con- 
servatives gave him up for lost. Nevertheless, when 
he led the House of Commons after Lord Palmerston's 
death in the Government of Lord Bussell, he gave 
great offence to academic Liberals by opposing the 
removal of University tests. This was the last renmant 
of the old Adam, and in 1871 he carried the abolition 
of the tests himself. Palmerston's death followed by a 
few months the loss of Gladstone's seat for Oxford, 
and with these two events he may be said to have 
acquired complete political freedom. After Peel's 
death he had set himself to carry out the financial 
policy of his master, and his task was not frustrated, 
though it was interrupted, by the Crimean War. The 
Budgets of 1860 and 1861 were the logical sequel to 
the Budget of 1853. Palmerston did not interfere with 
Gladstone's Budgets, much as he disliked some of them, 
but he suppressed Parliamentary Eef orm. To that sub- 



PKEFACE xi 

ject, and to Irish legislation, most of Mr. Gladstone's 
remaining years were devoted. He was, in truth, more 
of a Democrat than a Liberal. When he asked 
whether the working classes were not our flesh and 
blood, he was really stating by implication the doctrine 
of a natural right to the franchise. * Vox populi, vox 
Dei,' was a maxim to which he more and more inclined, 
though he never hesitated to oppose a temporary 
majority when he thought it in the wrong. If five- 
sixths of the Irish people demanded Home £ule, 
that was presumptive evidence that Home Eule was 
right. Of course the presumption might be rebutted, 
as by showing that Home Eule destroyed the integrity 
of the United Kingdom, which Mr. Gladstone always 
denied that it did. But the will of the people con- 
stitutionally expressed was regarded by him as some- 
thing almost sacred. On the other hand, he did not 
like admitting that he had been wrong, though he 
sometimes made the admission. He was too fond of 
proving his own consistency, and would seldom say 
simply that he had changed his mind. Few politicians 
will. It is always, according to them, circumstances 
that have changed, not they. Small weaknesses appear 
large when they are exhibited by great men. Eeaders 
of these pages can judge for themselves how far Mr. 
Gladstone's career remains at the close 

Quails ab incepto procesaerit, et sibi constet.' 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGS 

I. Parentage and Education. 1809-1832 . . 1 



II. Early Life in Parliament. 1882-1841 . 

III. Peel's Great Ministry. 1841-1846 

IV. The Peelites. 1846-1850 . . . 
V. The Neapolitan Question. 1850-1853 

VI. The Coalition. 1853-1855 .... 

VII. The Period op Transition. 1855-1860 

VIII. Gladstonian Finance. 1860-1865 . 

IX. Unmuzzled. 1865-1868 

X. The Irish Church. 1868 

XI. Prime Minister. 1868-1874 .... 

Xn. The Conservative Reaction. 1873-1874 . 

Xin. Rest, and be Thankful. 1874-1876 

XIV. The Eastern Question. 1876-1879 . 

XV. The Midlothian Campaign, and its Results 

1879-1880 

XVI. The Land League. 1880-1882 . 

XVn. Egypt. 1882-1884 

XVm. The County Franchise. 1884-1885 . 

XIX. Gladstone and Gordon. 1885. 



6 

22 

31 

39 

47 

55 

71 

91 

105 

110 

124 

129 

135 

155 
168 
195 
206 
213 



xiv LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

CHAP. PAOX 

XX. HoMB BuLE. 1885-1886 225 

XXI. The Pabmelutb Alliance. 1886-1888 . . 241 

XXII. Pabkbllism and Cbime. 1888-1890 ... 260 

XXIII. The Fall of Pabnell. 1890-1892 . . . 278 

XXIV. Gladstone's Last Goyebnmbnt. 1892-1894 . . 283 
XXV. The Closing Teabs. 1894-1898 . . 306 

INDEX 333 



Portbait of thb Bioht Hon. W. E. Gladstone, 

M.P, {From a photograph) .... Fronttspiece 



LIFE OF W. E GLADSTONE 



CHAPTEE I 

PAEENTAGE AND EDUCATION 

William Ewaet Gladstone was bom December 29, 
1809, at 62 Eodney Street, Liverpool. His father, John 
Gladstone, afterwards Sir John, one of the very few 
baronets created by Sir Eobert Peel, was a native of Leith, 
whence he removed to Liverpool. He married as his 
second wife Anne, daughter of Andrew Eobertson, of 
Stomoway, and died in 1851. They had six children, 
of whom William Ewart was the third son. Thus, as 
Mr. Gladstone said when he became member for 
Midlothian, he had no drop of blood in his veins which 
was not Scotch. The name of the family, originally 
settled at Liberton, in Lanarkshire, had been Gledstanes, 
afterwards Gladstones, finally, by Eoyal Licence in 1835, 
Gladstone. William Gladstone was educated at Sea- 
forth Vicarage (four miles from Liverpool), at Eton, and 
at Oxford. His tutor at Seaf orth was the Eev. William 
Bawson, the incumbent. His father was then living at 

B 



2 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Seaforth House. He went to Eton at the age of eleven, 
after the summer holidays of 1821, and boarded at a 
dame's (Mrs. Schurey's) ; Dr. Keate was then Head- 
master. His tutor was the Eev. Henry Hartopp Napp. 
He became fag to his eldest brother Thomas, afterwards 
Sir Thomas Gladstone of Pasque. 

The range of studies at Eton in those days was 
extremely narrow, being almost confined to the Greek 
and Latin languages. Mr. Gladstone was accustomed 
to say in later years that, limited as the teaching was, 
its accuracy was * simply splendid.' There were boys, 
he added, who went through the school and learnt 
nothing. But it was impossible to learn anything 
inaccurately. Gladstone was an industrious boy, what 
is called at Eton a ' sap.' He was distinguished even 
in those days for his high moral and religious character. 
Bishop Hamilton's statement that at Eton he himself 
was thoroughly idle, but * was saved from some worse 
things by getting to know Gladstone,* has been often 
quoted. When a coarse toast was drunk at an 
* Election ' dinner young Gladstone turned down his 
glass. His most intimate friend at Eton was Arthur 
Hallam, the subject of * In Memoriam,' about whose 
wonderful promise Gladstone entirely agreed with 
Tennyson. The two boys boarded in different houses, 
but for some years they ' messed ' together at breakfast 
every morning, turn and turn about. Of Gladstone's 



PARENTAGE AND EDUCATION 3 

other contemporaries the most famous were Sir George 
Comewall Lewis, who succeeded him as Chancellor of 
the Exchequer in 1855, and Charles Canning, son of 
the Prime Minister, afterwards Earl Canning, Governor- 
General of India at the time of the Mutiny. Gladstone 
played cricket and football, but his favourite recreation 
was boating. He kept a * lock-up * or private boat, and 
was, as he continued to be almost throughout his life, 
a great walker. He made no particular mark in the 
school, though the few who knew him well always 
believed that he would rise to eminence. 

The fact is, as Mr. Milnes Gaskell's privately 
printed correspondence of his father shows, that 
Gladstone and his cleverest contemporaries were in one 
respect premature men. They were ardent politicians, 
studying Parliamentary debates, writing about them to 
each other in the holidays, and even keeping such 
division lists as they could get hold of. Gladstone 
began early to use both his tongue and his pen. He 
spoke frequently in * Pop,' the school debating society, 
and he edited the ' Eton Miscellany,' which, however, 
only lasted from June to December, 1827. Current 
politics were then forbidden in 'Pop,' but historical 
subjects and abstract questions a£forded ample scope 
for eloquence. Gladstone's first speech was delivered on 
October 15, 1825, when he supported the modest proposal 
that education was * on the whole ' good for the poor. 

B 2 



4 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

After the death of George Canning, in August, 1827, 
Gladstone wrote a fervent eulogy of him in the ' Eton 
Miscellany.' This was the first of many tributes to 
Canning from the same source. Gladstone, as he told 
the House of Commons in 1866, ' was brought up under 
the shadow of the great name of Mr. Canning.' His 
father had induced Canning to stand for Liverpool in 
1812, and the crowd at that election was the first thing 
Gladstone could remember. When he went from 
Eton to Oxford he was a Canningite in politics, and 
a Canningite in foreign poUtics he always remained. 

Gladstone left Eton at Christmas, 1827, and read 
for six months with a private tutor, Mr. Turner, after- 
wards Bishop Turner of Calcutta. In October, 1828, 
he took up his residence at Christ Church, of which he 
was nominated a student in 1829. Dr. Samuel Smith 
and afterwards Dr. Gaisford were Deans. Among the 
undergraduates were Charles Canning, Lord Lincoln, 
Henry George Liddell (afterwards Dean), Sir Francis 
Doyle, and Sir Thomas Acland, who died a few days 
after Mr. Gladstone, his friend for nearly seventy years. 
The Oxford Movement, in which Gladstone was so 
much interested, had not yet begun. Keble was not 
resident ; Newman was still an Evangelical ; Pusey was 
suspected of sympathy with German Bationalism. 
For the greater part of his time Gladstone ' kept * in 
Peckwater, near Canterbury Gtite. He read hard, was 



PARENTAGE AND EDUCATION 5 

abstemious in the use of wine, and maintained in every 
respect the high character he had gained at Eton. His 
college tutor was the Eev. Eobert Brisco ; but he studied 
the classics privately with Charles Wordsworth, after- 
wards Bishop Wordsworth of St. Ajidrew's. His only 
exercise was walking. At Oxford, as well as through 
life, he was extremely, and, as men of the world thought, 
ostentatiously religious. He founded an essay society, 
which was called after him * W. E. G.' He was first 
Secretary and then President of the Oxford Union. 
Like a good Canningite, he defended CathoUc Emanci- 
pation but denounced the Eeform Bill. His speech 
against the Bill excited the most enthusiastic admi- 
ration, and led Charles Wordsworth to predict with 
confidence that he would be Prime Minister. It 
obtained notoriety many years afterwards, when Mr. 
Disraeli was not ashamed to quote it in the debate on 
the second reading of the Eeform Bill of 1866. Along 
with Charles Wordsworth and Lord Lincoln, Gladstone 
promoted a petition to the House of Commons against 
Parliamentary Eeform. This was signed by more than 
700 undergraduates and presented on July 1, 1831, by 
Lord Mahon the historian, afterwards Lord Stanhope. 
In December, 1831, Gladstone took a double first in 
classics and mathematics. His mathematics he must 
have learnt at Oxford or at home ; it was impossible 
for him to learn them at Eton. 



LIFE OP W. E- GLADSTONE 



CHAPTEB II 

EABLY LIFE IN PARLIAMENT 

After leaving Oxford, in the spring of 1832, Glad- 
stone spent six months in Italy, and acquired a 
familiarity with the Italian language which he never 
afterwards lost. His command of Italian was indeed, 
by the judgment of Italians, perfect; and when he 
visited the Ionian Islands as Lord High Commissioner 
in 1858 he addressed the Senate at Corfu in the Italian 
tongue. It appears that he had some thoughts of 
taking holy orders. But his father was bent upon 
making him into a statesman, and had interest with 
Sir Eobert Peel. Sir John Gladstone was not a man 
to be trifled with, and, in December, 1832, he had the 
satisfaction of seeing his brilliant son returned to the 
first Beformed Parliament as one of the members for 
Newark. Newark was a nomination borough which 
the Beform Act had spared, and the patron was the 
Duke of Newcastle, father of Gladstone's friend Lord 
Lincoln. Gladstone was elected at the head of the 
poll, and the Whig candidate, Serjeant Wilde, after- 
wards Lord Chancellor Truro, was defeated. On 



EAELY LIFE IN PAELIAMENT 7 

January 25, 1833, Gladstone was admitted a student 
of Lincoln's Inn ; but, like Disraeli, who went through 
the same process, he was never called to the Bar. On 
January 29 ParUament met, with Lord Althorp as 
Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the House 
of Commons. Gladstone sat among the Tory Op- 
position, which was led by Sir Eobert Peel. On 
March 6 he was elected a member of the Carlton 
Club, from which he did not withdraw till March, 
1860, after he had definitely joined the Liberal Party 
and become Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 
second Administration of Lord Palmerston. Except 
for a few unimportant remarks on petitions from 
Newark and Edinburgh, Gladstone's maiden speech 
was delivered on June 3. It was a defence of his 
father, who had a plantation in Demerara, where, 
according to Lord Howick, afterwards third Earl Grey, 
there was undue mortality among the slaves. This 
Gladstone strenuously denied, declaring that his 
father's slaves were happy, healthy, and contented. 
He favoured 'gradual' emancipation, with full com- 
pensation to the owners. This speech was remem- 
bered, and used against Gladstone when, in 1862, he 
expressed sympathy with Jefferson Davis and the 
South. But he never supported the principle of 
slavery. The speech made a most favourable impres- 
sion upon both sides of the Housq, and received a high 



8 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

compliment from Mr. Secretary Stanley, afterwards 
fourteenth Earl of Derby. A previous speech on the 
same subject (May 17), which has been erroneously 
attributed to Gladstone, was really made by his brother 
Thomas, then member for Portarlington. Except for 
the great session of 1846, when he was a Secretary 
of State without a seat in Parliament, and the first 
session of 1847, Gladstone sat continuously in the 
House of Commons from 1833 till his final retirement 
in 1894. His speeches were innumerable, and it is 
utterly impossible, within the compass of a volume 
like this, to notice more than a very few of them. 

His speech on the Irish Church Temporalities Bill 
(July 8, 1833) is interesting, both as the first which he 
made on Ireland and as the beginning of his con- 
nection with the subject of ecclesiastical establishment. 
He denounced the Appropriation Clause, which diverted 
part of the revenues of the Irish Church to secular 
purposes. The Appropriation Clause was withdrawn, 
and the Bill, thus lightened or weakened, passed the 
House of Lords. 

Such was the first utterance on Irish ecclesiastical 
matters of the statesman who disestablished the Irish 
Church. On July 28, 1834, after Lord Grey had 
retired and had been succeeded as Prime Minister by 
Lord Melbourne, Gladstone vehemently opposed the 
third reading, moved by Joseph Hume, of a Bill for 



EAELY Lim IN PAELIAMENT 9 

admitting Dissenters to the Universities. The third 
reading was supported by Lord Pahnerston, then 
Foreign Secretary, and carried; but the Bill was 
thrown out by the House of Lords. Gladstone 
pointed out, among other things, that it would be 
inoperative, because it only applied to the Universities 
and not to the Colleges. There were then no un- 
attached students. It was not till 1871 that the last 
disabilities, in the shape of Tests, were removed from 
Dissenters at the Universities by a Government of 
which Gladstone was the head. 

On November 14, 1834, William IV. dismissed Lord 
Melbourne, who was not unwilling to be dismissed, on 
the ground that. Lord Althorp having become Lord 
Spencer, there was no member of the Government in 
the House of Commons qualified to lead the House. 
The King sent for the Duke of Wellington, who re- 
commended that Sir Eobert Peel should be asked to 
form a Government. A message was accordingly sent 
to Peel, who was then in Eome, and on December 9 he 
arrived in London. On December 29 Peel was 
gazetted First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, Gladstone being included in the same 
commission as Junior Lord. He had refused to be 
Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies because of 
his father's connection with the West Indies. His 
appointment having vacated his seat, he at once issued 



10 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

an address to the Electors of Newark, in which he 
condemned the late Ministers for rash, violent, and 
indefinite innovation, and for having promised to act 
on the principles of Badicalism. He especially de- 
nounced the Ballot, which, thirty-eight years later, he 
carried into law. On December 29 Parliament had 
been dissolved for the third time within the short reign 
of the King. Mr. Gladstone was re-elected for Newark 
without opposition, his colleague being Serjeant Wilde, 
a Whig. Before his constituents he defended the 
King's dismissal of Melbourne, for which Peel had 
become constitutionally responsible, but which he 
himself deprecated when, in 1875, he reviewed Sir 
Theodore Martin's ' Life of the Prince Consort.* On 
January 17, 1835, Gladstone for the first time met Dis- 
raeli, at a dinner given by Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst, 
but nothing came of the meeting. On January 19 
Mr. Stuart Wortley, Under-Secretary for War and 
the Colonies, was defeated in Forfarshire, and at once 
resigned. The post was again offered to Gladstone, who 
this time accepted it. The Secretary of State was 
Lord Aberdeen, and this was Gladstone's first introduc- 
tion to a statesman whom he ever afterwards regarded 
with the highest reverence and esteem. His final judg- 
ment of Lord Aberdeen's character is contained in a 
letter of great interest and singular eloquence, which 
Lord Stanmore has printed in his * Life ' of his father. 



EAELY LIFE IN PAELIAMENT 11 

Of Gladstone, as Under-Secretary for the Colonies, 
two judgments delivered within the ofl&ce are recorded. 
Sir Henry Taylor wrote: *I rather like Gladstone, 
but he is said to have more of the devil in him than 
appears — in a virtuous way, that is — only self-willed.' 
Sir James Stephen, on the other hand, pronounced 
that for success in political life he wanted pugnacity. 
Peel's first Government had a short and troubled career. 
It never, indeed, had a constitutional right to exist at 
all. The Dissolution, unwarrantable as in the circum- 
stances it was, resulted in the gain of many seats to 
the Tory Party ; but it did not give them a majority 
in the House of Commons. Before the King's Speech 
was delivered they were defeated on the choice of a 
Speaker ; Mr. Abercromby being elected in the place 
of Sir Charles Manners-Sutton. A hostile amendment 
was carried to the Address, but still the Government did 
not resign. On March 30, however. Lord John Eussell 
moved a resolution in favour of applying the surplus 
revenues from the Irish Church to the purposes of 
secular education. This was carried against Ministers 
by a majority of thirty-three, and, on April 8, after 
three defeats on the Irish Tithe Bill, Peel resigned. 
Lord Melbourne returned to office with Lord John 
Bussell, whom the King had declared incompetent, as 
leader of the House of Commons. The consequence 
of his Majesty's rashness was that the Whigs came 



12 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

back not as his servants, but as his masters. Glad- 
stone, of course, followed Peel into Opposition. His 
real official career did not begin till 1841. 

At this time Gladstone lived in chambers in the 
Albany. He then began the practice of giving break- 
fast parties, which he continued when he was Prime 
Minister. He went a good deal into society, especially 
to musical parties, where he often sang; and rode 
regulariy in the Park. But he was a bom student, 
and the amount of reading which he accomplished in 
those days was prodigious. Homer and Dante were his 
favourite authors, but it is recorded that at this period 
he read the whole of St. Augustine's works in twenty- 
two volumes octavo. 

In Gladstone's iQrst speech to his constituents after 
leaving office (June 11, 1835) he bitterly attacked 
O'Connell, to whose memory more than fifty years 
afterwards he made ample amends in his review of 
the Irish patriot's published correspondence. On 
August 21, in the House of Commons, he defended the 
co-ordinate authority of the Lords in matters of legis- 
lation, and denounced the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
Mr. Spring-Eice, for, as he put it, threatening to coerce 
them by postponing the Consolidated Fund Bill. In 
1860 their positions were exactly reversed. Mr. Glad- 
stone, then himself Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
denied, and Mr. Spring-Eice, who had become Lord 



EAELY LIFE IN PABLIAMENT 13 

Monteagle, asserted, the moral right of the Lords to 
throw out a Bill which repealed a tax. Gladstone's 
mother died on September 23, 1835, and for the re- 
mainder of the year he took no active part in politics. 
His next important appearance in public was at the 
great political dinner given to Sir Eobert Peel in 
Glasgow on January 13, 1837. Upon that occasion he 
once more attacked the * reckless wickedness ' of 
O'Connell. Speaking at Newark, on his way south, on 
January 17, he said that the great distinction of the 
day was not between Whig and Tory, but between 
Conservative and Destructive, and that the time had 
come for a union of men to support the Church, the 
monarchy, and the peerage. In the House of Commons, 
on March 15, he spoke in support of compulsory church 
rates, which he abolished in 1868, when he was in 
power, though not in office. On July 17 he opposed a 
return demanded by Hume of those to whom compen- 
sation had been granted for the loss of slaves in the 
West Indies. The opposition, however, was with- 
drawn, and when the return appeared, it showed that 
Gladstone's father had received more than 75,000Z. 
Whatever else may be thought of Gladstone's early 
speeches on slavery, they at least proved his moral 
courage. 

At the dissolution of 1837, consequent upon the 
death of William IV., Gladstone was again returned 



14 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

without a contest for Newark, and again in the 
company of his Whig colleague, Serjeant Wilde. 
He was invited, but declined, to stand for Manchester. 
The Manchester Tories, however, persisted in nomi- 
nating him, but he was placed at the bottom of the poll. 
In December, 1838, appeared Gladstone's once famous 
book, *The State in its Eelations with the Church.' 
He was assisted in writing it by his friend, James Hope, 
afterwards Mr. Hope-Scott, Q.C., then a Tractarian, 
who subsequently joined the Church of Eome at the 
same time with Dr. Manning. The book is now 
chiefly known through the brilliant, if rather shallow, 
essay which Macaulay wrote upon it in the ' Edinburgh 
Eeview.' It has not, and it never had, much real 
interest for practical politicians ; it was suggested by 
a series of lectures delivered by Dr. Chalmers in the 
Hanover Square Booms. Gladstone affirms that the 
State has a conscience, that that conscience must be 
a religious one, and that it is impossible for the State, 
as for the individual, to have more than one religion. 
This is, in fact, a plea for a Theocracy, for the exact 
opposite of Erastianism, for the subordination of the 
State to the Church. As Gladstone says in his chapter of 
autobiography, written thirty years afterwards, his views 
were, even in 1838, hopelessly belated. Although the 
book was warmly praised, and its author's seriousness 
highly commended, he obtained no real support from 



EARLY LIFE IN PARLIAMENT 15 

any quarter, and within ten years he himself perceived 
that his position, though it might be ideal, was un- 
tenable. The historical interest of the book is that its 
doctrines were inconsistent with the Parliamentary 
grant to Maynooth College for training Eoman Catholic 
priests in Ireland. 

On April 10, 1839, Gladstone wrote to Macaulay to 
thank him for ' the candour and single-mindedness ' of 
his Eeview. Macaulay sent a most cordial acknow- 
ledgment, and Sir George Trevelyan mentions that 
Gladstone's was the only letter he ever preserved. Sir 
James Stephen described the book as one of 'great 
dignity, majesty, and strength.' But Wordsworth 
said that he could not distinguish its principles from 
Eomanism ; and Sir Eobert Peel, who detested the 
Oxford Movement, is said by Lord Houghton to have 
exclaimed, as he turned over the pages : ' That young 
man will ruin his fine political career if he persists in 
writing trash like this.' In 1840 Gladstone published 
a second book called ' Church Principles Considered in 
their Eesults.' When Macaulay saw the advertisement, 
he wrote to the editor of the * Edinburgh Eeview ' that 
the subject belonged to him. But when he got the 
book he declined to review it on the grounds that it 
was purely theological, had no connection with poli- 
tics, and might have been written by a supporter of 
the Voluntary system. It is, indeed, an ecclesiastical 



16 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

treatise, stating the views of a strong High Churchman 
on the apostolical succession, the authority of the 
Church in matters of faith, and the nature of the 
Sacrament. It had a very small circulation, and is 
chiefly interesting as a curious example of the way in 
which an active young member of ParUament employed 
his leisure. On June 20, when Lord John Bussell 
proposed an increase of the meagre grant then made 
by the State for education, raising it from 26,300Z. to 
30,000Z., Gladstone delivered an elaborate speech on 
a subject which he pronounced to be connected with 
the deep and abstruse principles of religion. He 
condemned the Ministerial plan because it recog- 
nised the equaUty of all reUgions, arguing that it 
led to latitudinarianism and atheism. His own 
opinion was in favour of Denominational teaching, 
and this opinion it may be doubted whether he ever 
changed. 

On July 25, 1839, Gladstone was married at 
Hawarden to Catherine, elder daughter of Sir Stephen 
Glynne. On the same day and at the same place Sir 
Stephen's younger daughter Mary was married to 
George, fourth Lord Lyttelton ; and it was in memory 
of this occasion that Gladstone and Lyttelton, more 
than twenty years afterwards, published their joint 
volume of poetical translations. In April, 1840, they 
examined together at Eton for the Newcastle Scholar- 



EAELY LIFE IN PAELIAMENT 17 

ship which had been lately founded at Eton by Glad- 
stone's political patron, the Duke of Newcastle. 

Meanwhile the Whig Government was tottering to 
its fall, and Gladstone's friends began to anticipate his 
early appointment to high office. He had risen to a 
position of considerable influence in the House of 
Commons, and so early as January 30, 1838, when 
it was proposed by George Grote, the historian, that 
Mr. Eoebuck should be heard at the Bar as agent for 
the Assembly of Lower Canada against the Canada 
Bill, Gladstone relieved the House from a difficulty 
by suggesting that Eoebuck should be heard, but not as 
agent. This was universaUy approyed and unanimously 
adopted. Gladstone argued that the Canadians had no 
real grievances to justify a rebellion ; but that it was 
impossible to retain possession of a British Colony 
without the free consent of the inhabitants. On 
April 9, 1839, he spoke against the Government 
Bill suspending the Constitution of Jamaica for five 
years. The motion for going into Committee on this 
Bill was only carried by five votes, and Lord Melbourne 
resigned. What is called the Bedchamber difficulty 
prevented Peel from forming a Government, and the 
Whigs returned to office ; but their power was gone. 
At the opening df the session of 1840 Gladstone was 
for the first time invited to Peel's Parliamentary 
Dinner for the front Opposition Bench. 





18 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

In the summer of 1840 Gladstone took part with 
James Hope and Dean Eamsay in fomiding Trinity 
College, Glenalmond, of which Charles Wordsworth 
was the first Warden, for the higher education of 
Scottish Episcopalians. At this time, as, indeed, 
throughout his life, Gladstone was keenly interested 
in ecclesiastical afiairs, and on April 27, 1841, he took 
part in the establishment of the Colonial Bishoprics' 
Fund. Of this fund Archbishop Howley was the 
first President, and Gladstone, who was always one 
of the Treasurers, spoke at the Jubilee meeting on 
May 29, 1891, when Archbishop Benson was in the 
chair. 

In the session of 1840, Gladstone took a prominent 
part in opposition to the first Opium War with China. 
In doing so he separated himself from many members of 
his party ; but to the policy he then avowed he always 
consistently adhered. He denounced in the strongest 
language what he called the infamous contraband 
traffic in opium, and he asserted in the most uncom* 
promising manner the right of the Chinese Government 
to resist the importation of the drug by force. For the 
first time he drew upon himself serious obloquy by the 
use of words which were held to imply a justification 
of the Chinese for poisoning the wells. 'They have 
given you full notice,' he said, * and wish to drive you 
from their coast. They had a right to drive you from 



EAELY LIFE IN PARLIAMENT 19 

their coast if you persisted in carrying on this infamous 
and atrocious trafl&c. . . . You allowed your agents to aid 
and abet those who were concerned in carrying on that 
trade ; I do not know how it can be heard as a crime 
against the Chinese that they refused provisions to 
those who refused obedience to their laws while 
residing within their territories/ He explained that 
he had not made himself responsible for the charge of 
well-poisoning, and had merely referred to it as the 
allegation of the Government. But the Whigs did not 
let the matter drop, and Palmerston in particular stig- 
matised him as defending a barbarous method of war- 
fare. At the beginning of the session of 1841 Glad- 
stone opposed a Bill enabling the Jews to hold office in 
Corporations. He entered into the whole subject of 
Jewish disabilities, and declared against the principle of 
admitting into the Legislature persons whose religious 
belief was incompatible with the duties they would 
have to perform. In 1885, twenty-seven years after 
all Jewish disabilities had been removed by Parliament, 
Gladstone was responsible for the creation of the first 
Jewish peer. In the same session the Government 
proposed to reduce the duty on foreign sugar. Lord 
Sandon, on behalf of the Opposition, moved an amend- 
ment that such a course would assist slavery and the 
slave trade. The debate lasted for eight nights, and 
Gladstone spoke in support of the amendment. He made 

c 2 



20 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

a personal appeal to Macaulay, who was then a member 
of the Cabinet : ' I can only speak/ he said, ' from 
tradition of the struggle for the abolition of slavery; 
but if I have not been misinformed, there was en- 
gaged in it a man who was the unseen ally of Mr. 
Wilberforce and the pillar of his strength ; a man of 
profound benevolence and acute understanding; of in- 
defatigable industry and of that self-denjing temper 
which is content to work in secret and to seek for 
its reward beyond the grave. The name of that man 
was Zachary Macaulay, and his son is a member of 
the present Administration.' 

Sir Eobert Peel had now resolved that the time 
was come for a formal attack upon the Government of 
Lord Melbourne, and he asked the House of Commons 
to affirm that they had lost the confidence of Parlia- 
ment. The motion was carried by a majority of one, and 
on June 22 Parliament was dissolved. In his address 
to the electors of Newark, Gladstone said : ' I regard the 
protection of native agriculture as an object of the first 
national and economical importance.' He accordingly 
favoured a graduated scale of duties upon foreign com. 
On this occasion he stood with Lord John Manners, 
afterwards Duke of Eutland. The Whig candidate 
was Mr. Thomas Hobhouse. Gladstone and Manners 
were returned. Lord Melbourne, in accordance with 
what was then the unbroken practice, met the new 



EAELY LIFE IN PAELIAMENT 21 

Parliament, although he was in a hopeless minority. 
But on August 20 he was defeated in the House of 
Commons by a majority of ninety-one, and finally 
retired from ofl&ce. Mr. Gladstone used to say that 
there was no man he more regretted not to have known 
than Lord Melbourne. 



22 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 



CHAPTER III 
peel's gbeat ministby 

On August 31, 1841, Sir Eobert Peel oflfered Glad- 
stone the Vice-Presidency of the Board of Trade. 
With this office was held the Mastership of the Mint, 
and Gladstone was sworn of the Privy Council, but not 
admitted to the Cabinet. He was disappointed with 
this offer though he accepted it, for he had at that 
time no practical knowledge of commerce, and he had 
hoped to be Chief Secretary for Ireland. But it was 
really the making of his career. Sir Robert Peel at once 
set himself to reform the tariff, and Gladstone was his 
principal assistant in the task. Gladstone's nominal 
chief was the Earl of Eipon ; but he soon mastered the 
business and became the real head of the department. 
Peel's second and great Administration was, in Mr. 
Gladstone's opinion, a model one. Peel was a real 
Prime Minister, superintending every department and 
leading the House of Commons as it had never been 
led before. Though Mr. Goulbum was Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, Peel was the true Minister of Finance, 
and his two greatest Budgets he introduced himself as 



PEEL'S GBEAT MINISTBY 88 

First Lord of the Treaenry. Finance had been the 
weak point of the Whigs, and Peel had to meet a deficit 
of two millions and three-quarters. Long afterwards, 
when he was opposing the foreign poUcy of Lord 
Beaconsfield, Gladstone said that in his yonth the Tories 
were the paxty of economy and peace, and the Whigs the 
party of extravagance and war. The Budget of 1842 
first showed Peel's full powers as a financier. It was, 
in fact, a long step towards Free Trade, and the Duke 
of Buckingham resigned the office of Privy Seal on 
that express gromid. Peel met the deficit by proposing 
an Income Tax, which had hitherto only been levied 
in time of war, at sevenpence in the pound for three 
years on all incomes exceeding 150Z. The rest of 
the money thus raised he devoted to abolishing or 
reducing the duties on no less than 750 imported 
articles. The labour of preparing the new tan& 
was enoimous, and it fell almost entirely upon 
Gladstone's shoulders. He was in charge of the 
Customs Bill, and in the course of the Session spoke 
129 times. The main principles of this great financial 
reform were, that there should be no prohibition of any 
foreign goods; that the duties on raw materials of 
manufacture should be nominal, and that where the 
process of manufacture was not, on importation, 
complete, they should be as small as possible. No 
work of Gladstone's life, except, perhaps, the settlement 



24 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

of the Succession Duty in 1853, was more arduous 
than this, and for a time it seriously injured his eye- 
sight. The Budget also comprised a very considerable 
reduction of the duties on foreign com, although the 
principle of Protection, and even the method of the 
sliding scale, pronounced by Lord Melbourne to be as 
absurd as anything in * Eabelais,' were retained. Lord 
John Eussell moved an amendment in favour of a 
fixed duty, but he was defeated by a majority of 123. 

Throughout the year 1842 industrial distress was 
acute, and at the opening of the Session of 1843 Lord 
Howick moved for a committee to inquire into the 
causes of it. He attacked Peel's new settlement of 
the Com Laws as inadequate, though he did not at 
that time pronounce for a final repeal. Gladstone in 
reply to this speech did not argue in favour of Protec- 
tion on general grounds. He contented himself with 
the much narrower statement that the Government were 
not prepared to abandon the principles of the Com 
Laws while Protection was applied to other articles 
of commerce. Again, when Mr. Villiers, on May 16, 
moved that the Corn Laws should be repealed, Glad- 
stone confined himself to the plea that it was too soon 
to alter the elaborate provisions of the year before. 
On May 11, Lord Fitzgerald, President of the Board of 
Control, died, and was succeeded by Lord Eipon. On 
May 19, Gladstone became President of the Board of 



PEEL'S GEEAT MINISTEY 25 

Trade, and took his seat for the first time in the 
Cabinet. The first question on which he had to give 
an opinion as a Cabinet Miaister was the withdrawal 
of the Educational Clauses in the Factory Bill. On 
June 13, Lord John Eussell, returning to his point, 
again moved to substitute a fixed duty for the sliding 
scale. This time Gladstone energetiojally protested 
against the unsettling effect of constant proposals for 
change, and Lord John's motion was defeated by a 
majority of ninety-nine. It may be observed that 
Gladstone never, or hardly ever, replied to Cobden. 
That duty was undertaken by Peel himself till the 
memorable day in March, 1845, when, at the close of 
Cobden's greatest speech, Peel, in response to the 
proposal of his colleagues that he should answer it, 
tore up his notes and said : ' Those may answer it who 
can.' Before the end of the session Gladstone took 
another step towards Free Trade by carrying a Bill to 
remove the restrictions which had hitherto impeded 
the export of machinery. 

In 1844, Gladstone, as President of the Board 
of Trade, introduced and carried the first General 
Eailway Bill, which was a measure of very great 
importance. It provided what were known as Parlia- 
mentary trains for the accommodation of the poorer 
classes. The fares charged for third-class passengers 
by these trains were not to exceed a penny a mile, 



26 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

the trains were to ^top at every station, and the speed 
was not to be less than twelve miles an hour. Li 
the same Session he took a prominent part in debate 
on a very different subject, which had no connection 
with his official duties. He made an eloquent and 
highly interesting speech on the second reading of the 
Dissenters' Chapels Bill. This was a Bill introduced 
by the Government in consequence of legal decisions 
which threatened the property of Unitarian congre- 
gations in their own chapels and endowments. It 
had been held by the House of Lords, in their judicial 
capacity, that no deed of foundation could be construed 
to include a religious body which was not, at the time 
the deed had been drawn up, tolerated by law. The 
result of this startling judgment was to deprive 
Unitarians, who had long been brought within the 
pale of the Constitution, of the legal rights which all 
other Churches enjoyed. The Bill altered the pre- 
sumption of law as laid down by the Lords, and gave 
every congregation a Parliamentary title to religious 
endowments which they had held for twenty years. 
It was, in fact, a Bill to quiet possession, and was 
supported by the leading men of both parties in both 
Houses. But a violent agitation was raised against 
it out of doors by Churchmen as well as by orthodox 
Dissenters, and against this ignorant prejudice Glad- 
stone directed his speech. He entered fully into the 



PEEKS GEEAT MINISTBY 27 

history of Nonconformity and the dislike of Non- 
conformists to doctrinal subscription. But at the same 
time he pointed out that the question was one not of 
theology but of justice, and that Parliament had no more 
right to withhold protection from the property of 
Unitajjans than a judge would have to deprive a man 
of an estate because his moral character was bad. 
This was the first Liberal speech made by Gladstone 
on a subject connected with religion. 

On January 28, 1845, a few days before the 
meeting of Parliament, Gladstone resigned office. 
When Parliament met he explained that his reason for 
doing so was the intention of the Government to pro- 
pose an increased grant to Maynooth, to make the 
grant permanent instead of annual, and to render the 
Board of Works in Ireland liable for the execution of 
repairs. Maynooth was a college for the education of 
Eoman Catholic priests. The increase of the grant 
was from 9,000Z. to 39,0002. a year. Gladstone felt 
that this policy was inconsistent with the principles of 
his book on Church and State, because it recognised the 
right and duty of the Government to support more re- 
ligions than one. Most poUticians regarded his reasons 
for resignation as altogether inadequate, and Peel did 
all he could to keep his valued lieutenant at the Board 
of Trade ; but Gladstone was not to be moved, believing 
that his public character was at stake. Having 



28 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

resigned, however, he felt himself at liberty to support 
Peel's proposal, arguing that, as grants were made by 
Parliament for other religious purposes not connected 
with the Church of England, it was unjust to exclude 
the Church of the majority in Ireland. The grant to 
Maynooth was part of Peel's general scheme for im- 
proving University education in Ireland. He also 
proposed the foundation of unsectarian institutions 
which Sir Bobert Inglis, in a nickname that stuck, 
called the 'godless colleges.' These also Gladstone 
defended, on the grounds of justice to Ireland and the 
interests of higher education. Before he resigned 
Gladstone had prepared another tariff, still further 
reducing the number of taxable articles imported 
from abroad. After his resignation he employed his 
leisure in writing a very important pamphlet, which he 
called ' Bemarks upon Becent Conunercial Legislation.' 
This tract is in truth a free-trade manifesto and is histori- 
cally connected with the great change of the succeeding 
year. Gladstone argues that it should be the first duty of 
a sound financier to encourage the growth of conmierce 
by removing all burdens from the materials of industry. 
Now com is as much the material of loaves as cotton 
is the material of dresses. In the winter of this year 
Gladstone, while out shooting, injured the first finger of 
his left hand so seriously that it had to be cut off. 
On December 4, 1845, the ' Times ' announced that 



PEEKS GEEAT MINISTEY 29 

the Cabinet had decided upon the total and imme- 
diate repeal of the Com Laws. The statement was 
indignantly denied by other newspapers, and nobody 
knew what to believe. But the * Times ' was partly 
right, having indeed obtained its information from a 
Cabinet Minister, Lord Aberdeen. Only it omitted 
to state that Sir Eobert Peel had resigned. He did 
so because the resignation of Lord Stanley had, in 
his opinion, fatally weakened his Government. The 
Queen sent for Lord John Eussell, who, so lately as 
November 22, had informed his constituents by letter 
that he was converted to total and immediate repeal. 
Lord John, however, failed to form a Government, 
because Lord Grey declined to sit in a Cabinet with 
Lord Palmerston as Foreign Secretary. On December 20 
Sir Eobert Peel resumed oflBice, and Gladstone succeeded 
Lord Stanley as Secretary of State for the Colonies. 
His appointment vacated his seat for Newark, but he 
did not oflfer himself for re-election. The Duke of 
Newcastle was a staunch Protectionist, and the electors 
of Newark were commonly of the same opinion as 
the Duke. Throughout the famous and stirring Session 
of 1846 Gladstone was a Secretary of State and a 
Cabinet Minister without a seat in Parliament. He 
did not re-enter the House of Commons till after the 
General Election of 1847. On June 25, 1846, the Bill 
for the Eepeal of the Com Laws was read a third time 



30 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

in the House of Lords and passed. On the same night 
the second reading of the Irish Coercion Bill was 
rejected in the House of Commons by a strange and 
sinister alliance of Whigs, Eadicals, and Protectionists. 
Sir Eobert Peel resigned, and Lord John Bussell became 
Prime Minister. Cobden urged Peel to dissolve, but 
Peel replied that it would not be proper to go to the 
country on the question of exceptional laws for Ireland. 
He was, in fact, eager to quit office, and he begged the 
Queen, as a personal favour, that she would never 
again entrust him with the task of forming an Adminis- 
tration. Gladstone of course retired with his chief, 
and was thus without either an office or a seat. 



31 



CHAPTER IV 

THE PEELITES 

For the four remaining years of his life Peel, though 
nominally in opposition, gave a steady support to the 
Whig Government of Lord John Russell. He was, in 
fact, a Liberal. But it was known that he would never 
again take office unless he thought the principle of 
Free Trade was in serious danger. His followers called 
themselves, and were called, Peelites ; but they were 
not, in the proper sense of the term, a party. They 
were a group of able and high-minded men united in 
devotion to Peel, but agreeing only, or chiefly, in 
hostility to Protection. On July 23, 1847, Parliament, 
having sat for six years, was dissolved. Mr. Estcourt, 
one of the members for the University of Oxford, 
retired, and Gladstone was brought forward as a 
candidate. His opponent was Mr. Round, an extreme 
Tory and Protestant. Gladstone's address was mainly 
a defence of his vote for Maynooth, which Mr. Round 
opposed, but which Mr. Estcourt had supported. Sir 
Robert Inglis, an opponent of the grant, who had sat 
for the University since he defeated Peel in 1829, was 



32 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

returned at the head of the poll with 1,700 votes. 
Gladstone came second with 997, and Bound, the 
defeated candidate, polled 824. The Whigs obtained 
a majority and remained in office. The Prime Minister's 
colleague in the representation of London was Baron 
Bothschild, who, though not legally ineligible, was 
unable, as a Jew, to take the Parliamentary oath ' on 
the true faith of a Christian.' Lord John Bussell 
moved a resolution that these words ought to be 
omitted and Gladstone supported him. Alluding to 
his previous vote against the admission of Jews to 
municipal office, he repeated his previous argument 
that if they were admitted to corporations, as they had 
since been, it was illogical to exclude them from 
Parliament. The resolution was carried, but the 
necessary legislation was not introduced that year, and 
it was eleven years before Jews were enabled to take 
their seats. Li 1848, on the eve of the Chartist rising, 
Gladstone was sworn in a special constable. His 
most important speech that year was made in favour 
of a Bill which came down from the House of Lords 
for authorising diplomatic relations with the Court of 
Bome. Peel had for some time been in favour of this 
measure, which, on August 29, was read a third time, 
and became law at the end of the session. The year 
1849 was chiefly remarkable for the repeal of the 
Navigation Laws, which provided that, with some 



THE PEELITES 33 

exceptions, foreign goods mnst be imported either in 
British ships or in the ships of the country from which 
they came, and which restricted the employment of 
foreign sailors in the merchant service. On March 13 
Gladstone gave a qualified support to this Bill, which 
was in thorough accordance with the principles of 
Free Trade, but urged, not very consistently, that its 
adoption should depend upon the adoption of the ssjne 
policy by other States. He did not, however, press his 
point to a division, and the Bill — though Brougham un- 
expectedly opposed it in the Lords — received the Royal 
Assent. On the Canadian Indemnity Bill Gladstone urged 
that there should be no indemnity to rebels, and strongly 
asserted the authority of Parliament to legislate for the 
Colonies. He opposed the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, to 
which he never became reconciled. The second reading 
of this Bill was carried by 177 votes against 143. But, 
on July 21, it was withdrawn, and owing to the persis- 
tent opposition of the Peers, especially the Bishops, 
it has not yet become law. The principal measure of 
1850 was Lord John Eussell's Colonial Government 
Bill, which gave the right of self-government to many of 
the British colonies. It was introduced on February 8, 
and Gladstone, having been Colonial Secretary, took 
a prominent part in the debates. He moved amend- 
ments in favour of a second chamber, and of suspending 
the Bill until the opinion of the colonies had been taken 

D 



34 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

on it. He was unsuccessful in both instances. But 
there is no British colony without a second chamber 
now, and the Australian Federation Bill of 1900 was 
not submitted to Parliament until the Legislatures and 
the people of the Australian Colonies had expressed 
their approval of it. On February 19, Gladstone 
supported a motion brought forward by Mr. Disraeli. 
Disraeli proposed, as a remedy for agricultural distress, 
that the Poor Laws should be revised, and that the 
burden of the poor-rate should be transferred from 
real property to the Consolidated Fund. Gladstone 
favoured the transference of at least a part of the rate, 
and argued that the relief would go to the tenants 
rather than to the landlords. Peel was against him 
on both points, and Gladstone afterwards came round 
to Peel's opinion. The motion was defeated by a 
majority of twenty-one. On March 8, 1850, Lord 
Langdale, then Master of the EoUs, delivered judgment 
in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on Mr. 
Gorham's appeal from the Court of Arches. The Dean 
of the Arches, Sir Herbert Jenner Fust, had held that 
the Bishop of Exeter, Dr. Phillpotts, was justified in 
refusing Mr. Gorham's institution to the benefice of 
Brampton Speke, which the Lord Chancellor had con- 
ferred upon him, because Mr. Gorham did not believe 
the doctrine of baptismal regeneration as defined by the 
formularies of the Church of England. The Judicial 



THE PBELITES 35 

Committee, on which the two Archbishops sat, reversed 
this decision, and found that Mr. Grorham had not gone 
beyond the limits of permissible opinion in the Chmrch. 
Lord Langdale's judgment was characteristically de- 
scribed by the great historian who heard it as worthy 
of Lord Somers or Chancellor d'Aguesseau. But it 
gave great oflfence to the High Church party, and it led 
to the secession of Dr. Manning from the Church of 
England. A petition against the sentence of the Court 
was drawn up, which Manning was the first to sign. 
Mr. Gladstone, whose signature had been confidently 
expected by Manning and Hope-Scott, drew back at 
the last moment on the technical plea that he was 
a Privy Councillor. Sidney Herbert took the same 
objection, and no member of the Privy Council did 
actually sign. Not all the signatories, nor half of them, 
seceded, and no direct result followed from the protest. 
But it is plain that Mr. Gladstone never seriously con- 
templated, any more than Pusey or Keble, the act of 
leaving the Church in which he was baptized. The 
most memorable debate of 1850 began on June 24. 
It was memorable, not only for the brilliancy of 
the speeches delivered in ifc, of which the most 
brilliant was Gladstone's, but also for the fact that 
it was the last in which Peel took part. The sub- 
ject was Lord Palmerston's quarrel with the Greek 
Government, who had failed to protect Don Pacifico, 

D 2 



36 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

a Maltese Jew, but a British subject, from the vio- 
lence of an Athenian mob. The British fleet, under 
Sir William Parker, was ordered to the Piraeus and 
seized a number of Greek ships to enforce compensation. 
A vote of censure upon this high-handed proceeding 
was moved and carried by Lord Stanley in the House 
of Lords. The majority against the Government there 
was thirty-seven. Li the House of Conmions, Mr. 
Eoebuck moved a counter-resolution, expressing con- 
fidence in the Government, and Lord Palmerston 
defended himself in a speech five hours long, which 
lasted, as Gladstone put it, from dusk to dawn. He 
uttered upon that occasion the celebrated phrase * Civis 
Eomanus sum,' and boasted that, wherever a British 
subject might be, the watchful eye and the strong arm 
of England would protect him. It was undoubtedly 
a popular speech, though Palmerston's enemies pro- 
nounced it to be claptrap. Gladstone, taking a less 
popular line, pointed out the dangers of Palmerston's 
policy. * What, sir,' he asked, ' was a Koman citizen ? 
He was the member of a privileged class ; he belonged 
to a conquering race, to a nation that held all others 
bound down by the strong arm of power. For him 
there was to be an exceptional system of law, for him 
principles were to be asserted, and by him rights were 
to be enjoyed that were denied to the rest of the 
world. Is such the view of the noble lord as to the 



THE PEELITES 37 

relation which is to subsist between England and 
other countries ? ' Such, at all events, was the view of 
the House of Commons, and Mr. Eoebuck's motion 
was carried by a majority of forty-six. But before the 
House divided. Peel, in a brief speech of singular 
dignity, eloquence, and wisdom, expressed his ' reluctant 
dissent ' from the motion, and uttered his final caution 
against perverting diplomacy, * the great engine used by 
civilised society for the purpose of maintaining peace, 
into a cause of hostility and war.' This speech was 
delivered on the night of June 28. On the afternoon 
of the 29th Peel was thrown from his horse on Con- 
stitution Hill, and on July 2 he died. 

When the House of Commons met on July 3, the 
first motion stood in the name of Joseph Hume. But, 
instead of moving it, he proposed that the House should 
at once adjourn as a tribute to the memory of Sir 
Eobert Peel. Gladstone seconded the proposal in a 
brief speech, full of deep feeling, in which he quoted 
the noble lines from * Marmion ' on the death of Pitt. 
Macaulay was in error when he described Gladstone as 
* the rising hope of the stem and unbending Tories,' 
who were inclined to rebel against the authority of Sir 
Eobert. He was a thorough Peelite, and never thought 
of setting himself up as a rival to that illustrious man. 
Peel, he said, at the close of his own life, was upon the 
whole the greatest man he ever knew. After Peel's 



38 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

death he called no one master ; but the statesman to 
whom he most attached himself was Lord Aberdeen. 
The death of their chief did not dissolve the Peehtes, 
who continued to act and vote together on most 
questions, if not on all, until they coalesced with the 
Whigs in Lord Aberdeen's Administration. 



39 



CHAPTEE V 

THE NEAPOLITAN QUESTION 

The only other important subject on which Glad- 
stone spoke in the Session of 1850 was Mr. Heywood's 
proposal that a Eoyal Commission should be issued to 
inquire into the management of the Universities. 
Lord John Eussell unexpectedly accepted Mr. Hey- 
wood's motion, which was carried by a majority of 
twenty-two. But Gladstone, as member for Oxford, 
opposed it, using the argument which afterwards 
became so familiar, though it ceased to weigh with him, 
that the interference of Parhament would discourage 
the generosity of founders and benefactors. 

The winter of 1850-51 was spent by Gladstone at 
Naples, and momentous consequences followed from his 
visit. He discovered that Ferdinand II., King of the 
Two Sicilies, had not only dissolved the Constitution, 
but had confined some 20,000 persons as poUtical 
prisoners. Nearly the whole of the late Opposition, and 
an actual majority of the late Chamber, were in gaol. 
They were herded with the worst criminals, some of 
them were subjected to actual torture ; and the state of 



40 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

the prisons in which they were confined was a scandal 
to civilisation. One statesman in particular, Poerio, 
was seen by Gladstone himself, chained to a murderer, 
and suffering terrible privations, although, as Gladstone 
said, his character stood as high as that of Lord John 
Eussell or Lord Lansdowne. Moved by these dis- 
coveries, Gladstone addressed a very eloquent and 
extremely indignant letter to Lord Aberdeen, in which 
he told the whole story of King Ferdinand's cruelty 
and atrocities from the beginning. He had not 
selected the most sympathetic correspondent, for Lord 
Aberdeen, in his foreign policy, had more in common 
with Mettemich than with Cavour. The letter was 
dated April 7, 1851, but it did not actually appear 
till July. The delay was due to Lord Aberdeen, who 
earnestly entreated Gladstone to abstain from publica- 
tion on the ground that it would render more difl&cult 
the task of procuring release for these Italian patriots. 
Lord Aberdeen's good faith cannot be doubted, and 
even his judgment should not be lightly impugned; 
but Gladstone's moral indignation was not to be 
restrained, and the letter was published. It was followed 
by two others, in the second of which Gladstone replied 
exhaustively and conclusively to the official defence 
put forward by the Neapolitan Government. Lord 
Palmerston, who on this point, and perhaps on this 
point only, entirely agreed with Gladstone, sent a copy 



THE NEAPOLITAN QUESTION 41 

of the first letter to the British representative at every 
Court in Europe, and told the House of Commons, in 
reply to Sir De Lacy Evans, that he had done so. 
Gladstone's letters undoubtedly contributed to the 
ultimate independence and union of Italy. But Lord 
Aberdeen was so far justified that they did not im- 
mediately procure the liberation of the captives, and it 
was Lord Derby's Government who procured the 
freedom of Poerio. At this time Gladstone took the 
trouble to translate the whole of Farini's *Eoman 
State from 1815 to 1850.' 

Gladstone returned home towards the end of 
February, 1851, and found himself in the middle of a 
poUtical crisis. The whole country was agitated by 
popular fury against the Papal Bull which had divided 
England into Eoman Catholic Sees. The public 
feeling was shared by no one more strongly than by 
the Prime Minister, and he had already introduced the 
Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, which provided penalties for 
the assumption by Eoman Catholic prelates of titles 
taken from any territory or place in the United 
Kingdom. But the Whig Government was tottering 
to its fall. A motion by Mr. Disraeli, nominally 
designed to relieve agricultural distress, but really 
meant to bring back Protection, had been defeated by 
only fourteen votes, and, on February 20, Mr. Locke 
King's proposal to reduce the county franchise to 102., 



42 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

at which it stood in boroughs, was carried against the 
Ministry by a majority of nearly two to one. Lord 
John Eussell thereupon resigned, and a new Govern- 
ment was not formed till March 3. Lord Stanley, 
for whom the Queen sent, declined to make one until 
Lord John had attempted a conjunction with the 
Peelites. The Peelites refused to join him because 
they disapproved of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. 
Lord Stanley then tried to obey the Queen's commands, 
and he invoked Gladstone's assistance. He also 
proposed that Lord Canning, another Peelite, should 
enter the Cabinet. They, however, would not serve 
under a Protectionist, and Lord Stanley gave up the 
task in despair. Lord John returned to Downing 
Street, and proceeded with the Ecclesiastical Titles 
Bill in a modified form. On March 14, Gladstone 
made a powerful speech against the Bill, urging that 
it was a violation of religious freedom, and that the 
act of the Pope, being purely spiritual, was one with 
which Parliament had no concern. Public opinion, 
however, was strongly the other way, and the second 
reading was carried by 438 votes against 95. The 
Bill, strengthened in committee by Tory amend- 
ments, passed both Houses and became law. But 
nobody obeyed it, nobody was punished for disobeying 
it, and, twenty years afterwards, it was repealed at the 
instance of Gladstone himself. 



THE NEAPOLITAN QUESTION 43 

In the winter of 1851 Lord John Eussell's Govern- 
ment, abready weak, was still further weakened by the 
dismissal of Lord Palmerston, who had recognised the 
absolute power of Louis Napoleon without consulting 
the Prime Minister or the Queen. This was in 
December, and on February 20, 1852, Palmerston had 
what he characteristically called his * tit-f or-tat with 
Lord John Eussell ' by turning him out on the Militia 
Bill, when Ministers were left in a minority of nine. 
Lord John again resigned, and this time Lord Stanley, 
who had become Lord Derby, succeeded in forming an 
Administration without recourse either to Whigs or to 
Peelites. He did, indeed, approach Lord Palmerston, 
but without effect. The new Government consisted 
almost entirely of new men, and Mr. Disraeli, who had 
never held office before, became Chancellor of the 
Exchequer and leader of the House of Commons. The 
Government, though in a minority, struggled through 
the Session, which was a short one, for Parliament 
was prorogued and dissolved at the beginning of July. 
The result of the elections was the return of 315 
Liberals (counting the Irish), 299 Conservatives, and 
40 Peelites. Gladstone was re-elected for Oxford, 
though he was opposed by Dr. Marsham, Warden of 
Merton. When the new Parliament met in November, 
Mr. Villiers proposed several resolutions in favour of 
Free Trade, which threatened the existence of the 



44 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Cabinet. It was generally recognised that, after the 
appeal to the country, Protection was dead. But Mr. 
Villiers invited the House of Commons formally to 
declare that the repeal of the Com Laws was a * wise, 
just, and beneficent ' measure. These ' odious epithets,' 
as Mr. Disraeli called them, gave great offence to the 
Conservative Party. There was a long and angry 
debate upon the resolution. But Lord Palmerston 
came to the rescue of the Government with an 
amendment which, though substantially identical 
with Mr. Villiers's proposals, omitted the offensive 
words. Gladstone strongly supported the amendment, 
on the ground that it was in accordance with the well- 
known magnanimity of Sir Eobert Peel, and that it 
would give Protection a decent burial. The amend- 
ment was carried by a majority of eighty, and Lord 
Derby was, for the moment, safe. But it was not for 
long. Mr. Disraeli's first Budget was an unfortunate 
one. He proposed to relieve the agricultural depres- 
sion by taking off half the duty on malt, and to supply 
the deficiency by doubling the duty on inhabited 
houses. In his reply, at the close of the debate, Mr. 
Disraeli, turning aside from financial details, made a 
slashing personal attack, in his most reckless and 
satirical vein, upon his principal critics, especially Sir 
James Graham and Sir Charles Wood, afterwards 
Lord Halifax. He sat down late at night, and Glad- 



THE NEAPOLITAN QUESTION 45 

stone immediately rose to reply to a speech which 
must, he said, be answered at the moment. This was 
the beginning of that long oratorical duel which only 
ended in Mr. Disraeli's removal to the House of Lords, 
nearly a quarter of a century later. The House was 
vehemently excited, and Gladstone's earUer sentences 
were interrupted by tumults of applause. He severely 
rebuked Mr. Disraeli for the terms in which he had 
spoken of eminent and distinguished men, his pre- 
decessors in office. But the bulk of his argument was 
entirely financial, and he condemned the Budget 
because, as he said, it ' consecrated the principle of 
a deficiency.' He proved that the small surplus which 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer estimated was not a 
real one, and that therefore his whole scheme was 
without solid foundation. On a division, which was 
taken in the early morning of the 17th, the Govern- 
ment were left in a minority of nineteen. The same day 
Lord Derby went down to Osborne, and the first of his 
three Administrations was at an end. * England,' Mr. 
Disraeli had said in his speech, * does not love coalitions.' 
She was now to try one. Lord Aberdeen became Prime 
Minister, and constructed a mixed Cabinet of Whigs 
and Peelites, with one Kadical, Sir William Molesworth. 
Gladstone became Chancellor of the Exchequer. His 
acceptance of office of course vacated his seat, and 
there was a fierce contest at Oxford, which lasted for 



46 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

fifteen days. Gladstone had excited the animosity of 
a clerical faction, led by Archdeacon Denison, who, five 
years before, had been one of his strongest supporters. 
Their candidate was Mr. Dudley Perceval, son of the 
Prime Minister, and Gladstone's majority was consider- 
ably reduced. At the close of the poll the numbers 
were — For Gladstone, 1,034 ; for Perceval, 885. 



47 



CHAPTEE VI 

THE COALITION 

LoBi) Abeedeen was well Ifitted to preside over a 
Coalition Government. In home politics he was an 
advanced Liberal; in foreign policy he was a pro- 
nounced Tory, who adhered, so far as it was possible, 
to the principles of 1815 and to the Treaty of Vienna. 
Lord John Eussell consented to serve under him as 
Foreign Secretary, but he very soon resigned this office, 
in which Lord Clarendon succeeded him, and he led the 
House of Commons as President of the Council. Lord 
Palmerston did not then, or ever again, return to the 
Foreign Office, but became Home Secretary, though 
his principal interest then, as always, was in foreign 
affairs. On April 18, 1853, Gladstone introduced his 
first, and, in some respects, his greatest. Budget. But 
before he did so he had provided in a separate measure 
for reducing the National Debt by eleven millions 
and a half every year. This memorable Budget was 
universally admitted to be a masterpiece of financial 
genius, worthy of Peel or Pitt. In introducing it Mr. 
Gladstone spoke for five hours, though not longer than 



48 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Mr. Disraeli had spoken on a similar occasion a few 
months before. The results, however, were very 
different. Disraeli's Budget had been a disastrous 
failure; Gladstone's was a splendid success. The 
leading principles of it were the progressive reduction 
of the Income Tax, and the extension of the Legacy 
Duty, under the name of Succession Duty, to real 
property. It was estimated to produce an annual sum 
of 2,000,000Z., but at l&rst it brought in less than half 
that sum. The Income Tax was to remain at Id 
in the pound, from April, 1853, to April, 1855. From 
April, 1855, to April, 1857, it was to stand at 6eZ. ; 
from April, 1857, to April, 1860, it was to be 5(Z., after 
which it was to be entirely extinguished. It was ex- 
tended to incomes between lOOZ. and 150Z., but on them 
it was at once to be calculated at bd. in the pound. It 
was also, for the first time, to be imposed in Ireland. On 
the other hand, and as a set-ofif, the debt incurred by Ire- 
land at the time of the great famine, six years before, 
was wiped out. But Ireland was a loser by the transac- 
tion ; for while the interest on the debt was 245,000Z., the 
Irish Income Tax brought in about twice as much. 
This financial statement has never been surpassed, 
and scarcely ever been equalled, for felicity of phrase, 
lucidity of arrangement, historical interest, and logical 
cogency of argument. Among its other provisions, it 
repealed the Soap Tax, it reduced the Tea Duty by 



THE COALITION 49 

gradual stages to Is. in the pound, and it took off the tax 
on more than a hundred minor articles of food. As origi- 
nally framed, it lowered the advertisement duty, which 
had been a heavy burden on newspapers, and a great 
check to their multiplication, from eighteen-pence to 
sixpence. But in the month of July, mainly at the 
instance of Mr. Milner Gibson, who distinguished him- 
self by persistent hostility to what he called the taxes 
on knowledge, the duty was abolished altogether, in 
spite of opposition from the Government, by seventy 
votes against sixty-one. Otherwise Gladstone's triumph 
was so complete that no effective resistance could be 
offered to his main proposals in the House of Commons. 
Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, afterwards Lord Lytton, 
divided the Committee against the continuance of the 
Income Tax, but he was beaten by a majority of 
seventy-one. 

This Budget promised to be the beginning of a new 
financial era, which would carry out and carry further 
the principle of Free Trade. But Gladstone's plans 
were seriously delayed, though not ultimately defeated, 
by an event which, at the beginning of 1853, nobody 
could well have foreseen. A quarrel arose between the 
Boman and Greek Churches about the custody of the 
Holy Places in Jerusalem. Turkey took one side and 
Bussia the other. The Emperor Nicholas, besides 
espousing the cause of his own Church, claimed a 

E 



50 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

general protectorate over Greek subjects of the Porte, 
and in June a Eussian army invaded the Danubian 
Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. On October 4 
Turkey declared war against Kussia. On the 12th 
Gladstone went to Manchester to unveil a statue of 
Peel. In an eloquent and earnest speech he described 
Kussia as *a Power which threatened to override all 
the rest/ He added, in language which though con- 
ciliatory in form was in substance ominous, that the 
Government was still anxious to maintain peace. 
That was true of himself, of the Prime Minister, and 
of perhaps half the Cabinet ; but the Government 
was a divided one. Lord John Kussell disliked his 
subordinate position. Lord Palmerston, though an 
excellent Home Secretary, was uneasy in the Home 
Office, and had his eye always on foreign affairs. 
It was he and Lord Stratford de Eedcliffe, British 
Ambassador at Constantinople, who, together with 
Lord Clarendon and the Emperor Nicholas, made the 
Crimean War. The causes of that war have been 
variously and inconsistently defined. Gladstone, who 
as a Cabinet Minister was, of course, jointly responsible 
for it, always maintained that it was not undertaken 
on behalf of Turkey, but to preserve the balance of 
power, to vindicate the public law of Europe, and to 
restrain the ambition of an overweening autocrat. 
Meanwhile there were troubles within the Cabinet. 



THE COALITION 51 

In December Lord Palmerston resigned. The nominal 
cause of his resignation was Lord John Bussell's per- 
sistence in attempting to introduce a Eeform Bill. 
But when he returned to ofl&ce, a few days afterwards, 
the British Fleet was ordered to the Black Sea. On 
March 28, 1854, England and France declared war 
against Bussia. Meanwhile, on March 6, when war 
was known to be imminent, though it had not actually 
begun, Gladstone introduced his second Budget. It 
was very different from the first. He had to provide 
for an expenditure of which he had no idea in the 
spring of 1853. But he declined to borrow. He 
made an animated protest against carrying on war by 
means of loans, which he said had nearly ruined the 
country at the close of the last century. His proposal 
was to double the Income Tax for half the year, thus 
raising it from Id, to Is. 2eZ., and to collect the whole of 
the increase within the first six months. On May 8, 
however, he was obliged to introduce a Supplementary 
Budget, and to double the tax for the second half-year 
too. He also raised the duty on spirits, increased the 
Malt Tax, much to the disgust of the agriculturists, 
and made a small addition to the duty on sugar. He 
courageously defended these proposals, on the double 
ground that the year's expenditure should be met 
within the year, and that all classes of the nation 
should contribute to the cost of a national war. Al- 

E 2 



52 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

though there was a good deal of grumbling, this 
Budget also passed without serious difl&culty. On 
December 12, Parliament met for a winter session. 
But the country was now enthusiastic for the war, and 
the Government were able to do exactly what they 
pleased. 

The winter of 1854-5 was one of unusual and 
almost unprecedented severity throughout Europe. 
The sufferings of the troops in the Crimea were terrible, 
and were brought prominently before the notice of the 
public by Mr. William Howard Eussell, afterwards 
Sir William Eussell, the war correspondent of the 

* Times.' When Parliament met, after the Christmas 
recess, on January 23, Mr. Eoebuck, the Eadical 
member for ShefiGield, at once gave notice that he 
would move for a Select Committee to inquire 
into the condition of the Army, and into those 
public departments which were responsible for it. 
Lord John Eussell, feeling himself unable to oppose 
this motion, resigned, and his resignation was an- 
nounced on the 25th. On the same day Eoebuck 
proposed his motion. On the 29th Gladstone spoke 
with great energy against it, and in doing so severely 
condemned, by implication, the conduct of Lord John. 

* If,* he said, * the Government had accepted such a 
resolution, or had retired rather than meet it, they 
would have deserved to be described as " men who, to 



THE COALITION 53 

escape punishment, ran away from duty." ' BSs argu- 
ments, however, were unavailing. The House of 
Commons was thoroughly indignant with the Govern- 
ment, and Eoebuck's motion was carried by the 
enormous majority of 157. This put an end to the 
Ministry of Lord Aberdeen. The Queen sent for 
Lord Derby, and he again made overtures to the 
Peelites. He first, however, invited Lord Palmerston. 
But he suggested to Palmerston that Gladstone and 
Sidney Herbert should come in with him. To Lord 
Derby's extreme annoyance and surprise, they all 
refused ; thus, in his opinion, justifying his statement, 
in 1851, that the Peelites used their talents chiefly for 
the purpose of making all government impossible. 
They promised him, indeed, an independent support : 
but for that he did not care; and it was upon this 
occasion that he favoured her Majesty, with his cele- 
brated definition of an independent member as a 
member who could not be depended on. Lord Derby 
having felt himself unable to form a Government out 
of his own party, and Lord John Eussell having failed, 
as, under the circumstances, might have been anti- 
cipated, the old Government was reconstructed, with 
Lord Palmerston as Premier in place of Lord Aber- 
deen. The Duke of Newcastle, who, as the first 
Secretary of State for War, had been the chief target 
of attack, retired with his chief; but Gladstone, 



54 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

though on Febraary 5 he warmly defended his old 
friend the Duke against the strictnres of Lord John, 
remained for a few weeks in office. On February 22, 
however, he resigned, together with Sir James Graham, 
Mr. Herbert, and Mr. Cardwell. Their ground for 
taking this step was that Lord Palmerston had agreed 
to accept Mr. Roebuck's committee, although he was 
himself opposed to it, and had given them an assur- 
ance that he would resist it. They also took the line 
that the committee, which included no member of the 
Government, was unconstitutional, inasmuch as it 
tended to relieve the Executive of a responsibility which 
belonged only to Ministers of the Crown. Their ex- 
planations were made in the House of Gonmions on 
February 23, in the course of a miscellaneous debate, 
rendered memorable by Mr. Bright's great speech, 
with its famous and familiar image of the Angel of 
Death. 



55 



CHAPTER VII 

THE PEBIOD OF TRANSITION 

Lord Palmerston, immediately after the formation 
of his Government, sent Lord John Eussell, who had 
accepted office under him as Colonial Secretary, on a 
special mission to Vienna, to negotiate terms of peace. 
The effort failed; but from that time Gladstone ceased to 
defend the war, and contended that its ultimate objects 
had been secured. The Protectorate had, he argued, 
been given up ; the unfair pretensions of Eussia were 
abated, and the destruction of her preponderant power 
in the Black Sea was not a sufficient reason for 
continuing the struggle. During the progress of the 
war the House of Commons, like the country, took 
little interest in any other subject. But, on July 12, 
1855, Gladstone spoke strongly in favour of open 
competition in the public service, as recommended in 
a report signed, nearly two years before, by Sir Charles 
Trevelyan and by Sir Stafford Northcote, who had been 
his own private secretary at the Board of Trade. On 
August 3 he returned to the subject of the Vienna 
Conference, and in supporting a motion made by 



56 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

Mr. Laing, pleaded once more vainly for peace. He 
relied upon the satisfaction of Austria with the Bussian 
terms, and protested against imposing upon the new 
Czar, who had succeeded his father in February, un- 
necessarily humiliating conditions. On March 30, 1856, 
the Treaty of Paris, which terminated the war, was 
signed, and on May 5 Gladstone joined in the general 
congratulations of the Government upon the establish- 
ment of an honourable peace. But he pointed out 
that the neutralisation of the Black Sea involved a 
'series of pitfalls,' and no one acquainted with this 
speech can have been surprised at his acquiescence 
in the removal of that article from the Treaty 
when he was himself Prime Minister fifteen years 
afterwards. 

On March 8, 1856, just before the proclamation of 
peace. Lord John Eussell, who had again resigned 
office on his return from Vienna the year before, pro- 
posed in the House of Commons, as an independent 
member, a series of resolutions on the subject of 
national education. They nominally provided for 
increasing the powers and duties of the Committee of 
Council ; but they really contained the germs of 
School Boards, and of a Conscience Clause. They 
would have confined religious instruction to the daily 
reading of the Bible in elementary schools. Lord 
John did not press them to a division, and the debate 



THE PERIOD OF TRANSITION 57 

was adjourned till April 10, when the House went into 
Committee on the whole of vthem. - Even then Lord 

•4 

John intimated that he would not take the sense of 
the Committee on them one by one. But there was a 
long debate upon the whole subject, in the course of 
which Gladstone delivered an elaborate defence of the 
voluntary system. The two points to which he espe- 
cially objected were the increased centralisation, which 
he discerned in Lord John's plan, and the purely 
secular teaching to which he believed it would lead. 
Ultimately all the resolutions were disposed of by a 
preliminary motion, on which 158 members voted for 
them and 260 against them. 

On February 20, 1857, Mr. Disraeli moved that the 
LicomeTax ought to be finally remitted in the year 1860. 
This was in accordance with Gladstone's first Budget, 
and he spoke in support of the motion. At the same time 
he severely criticised the financial arrangements of his 
successor. Sir George Lewis, which he said reversed the 
principles of the last fifteen years, as laid down in Peel's 
great Budget of 1842.1 He especially condemned the 
increase of indirect taxes, such as the duties on tea and 
sugar. The motion was defeated by a majority of 
eighty. But, on the report of Supply, Gladstone re- 
turned to the subject, and pleaded .with great earnest- 
ness for the necessity of cutting down|the^national 
expenditure, which had, he said, quite apart from the 



68 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

war, outgrown to a dangerous degree the resources of 
the country. 

But the moment was not altogether opportune for 
economy. The Speech from the Throne had referred 
to * acts of violence, insults to the British flag, and 
infraction of treaty rights committed by the local 
Chinese authorities at Canton.' These acts, * and the 
pertinacious refusal of redress, had rendered it necessary 
for her Majesty's officers in China to have recourse to 
measures of force to obtain satisfaction.' The reference 
was to the case of the lorcha * Arrow.' The ' Arrow ' 
was a small boat called by that Portuguese name from 
which Governor Yeh of Canton had taken twelve men 
on a charge of piracy. The * Arrow ' was not an English 
boat, though it was flying the British flag. But Mr. 
Parkes, the British Consul at Canton, contended that 
the flag protected the men, although they were Chinese, 
and demanded their surrender with an apology. The 
men were given up, but the apology was refused, and 
the British Minister at Pekin, Sir John Bowring, a 
Eadical and a friend of Cobden, proceeded to make 
war on China by the bombardment of Canton. The 
date of the seizure was October 8, 1856, and the bom- 
bardment lasted from October 23 to November 13. 
On February 24, 1857, Lord Derby moved in the House 
of Lords a vote of censure on the Government for 
these proceedings. He was supported in his protest 



THE PEEIOD OF TEANSITION 59 

against their illegality by the high authority of Lord 
Lyndhnrst, but his motion was rejected by a majority 
of thirty-six. There was a very different division in 
the House of Commons. The last Whig Government, 
as Palmerston's first Administration may fairly be 
called, had the singular experience of being absolved 
by the Lords and condemned by the Commons. On 
February 26, Mr. Cobden moved that ' the papers which 
have been laid upon the table fail to establish satisfac- 
tory grounds for the violent measures resorted to at 
Canton in the late affair of the " Arrow." ' Cobden was 
supported by Gladstone, who, true to the principles he 
had laid down in 1840, severely denounced this high- 
handed and unjustifiable treatment of a weak nation. 
The Government were defeated by a majority of sixteen. 
In the course of the debate Disraeli had challenged 
Palmerston to appeal to the country. Palmerston, 
who understood the temper of the middle classes 
better than any statesman of his time, at once responded 
to the challenge. The division had been taken on 
March 3 ; on March 5 the dissolution of Parliament 
was announced. Palmerston obtained from the con- 
stituencies a large majority, and his Chinese policy was 
emphatically endorsed by the nation. BKs principal 
opponents, including Cobden, Bright, Milner-Gibson, 
and Fox, the member for Oldham, lost their seats. 
Gladstone, however, was more fortunate, for the Uni- 



60 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

versity of Oxford did not even put him to the trouble 
of a contest. 

In the first Session of the new Parliament Glad- 
stone's activity was almost entirely confined to the 
Bill for establishing the Divorce Court, which came to 
the House of Commons from the House of Lords, and 
of which the second reading was moved on July 24. 
Gladstone opposed this Bill with greater vigour and 
pertinacity than he ever displayed in resisting any 
other measure, before or since. Li his speech upon 
the second reading he took the high line that mar- 
riage is absolutely indissoluble, and that no human 
authority could set aside a union of which the sanction 
was Divine. In a historical review of the whole 
question he sought to prove that re-marriage in the 
lifetime of both parties had never been allowed in the 
first three centuries of the Christian era, and he 
described divorce as inconsistent with the character of 
a Christian country. The Bill was carried by large 
majorities, and there was one argument which its 
opponents, with all their ability, failed, in the general 
opinion, to meet. They talked as if divorce had been 
impossible and unknown before the year 1857. As a 
matter of fact, it was constantly granted by Act of 
Parliament ; which meant that it was a privilege of the 
rich, and that it was denied to the poor. Gladstone, 
however, fought the Bill steadily through Committee, 



THE PEBIOD OP TRANSITION 61 

ana came into frequent coUision with the Attorney- 
General, Sir Eichard Bethell, afterwards Lord West- 
bury, who had charge of it. Intellectually the com- 
batants were well matched, and their argumentative 
battle was one of the most exciting that the House of 
Conmions has seen. Gladstone had the courage to 
support Mr. Drummond's amendment, which would 
have given to a woman the right to divorce on the 
same terms as a man. But even this proposition, 
against which it was hard to find tenable reasons, was 
rejected by nearly two to one. The only concession 
which Gladstone extorted from the Government was 
that no clergyman should be compelled to celebrate 
the marriage of a divorced person. The Bill was not 
read a third time in the House of Commons till 
August 21, and when it went back to the House of 
Lords for consideration of the Commons amendments 
it only escaped defeat by two votes. The expediency 
of this measure is still acutely controversial, and the 
High Church party have never been reconciled to it. 
Gladstone always maintained that it was wrong in 
principle, and pernicious in its consequences ; but he 
felt that to repeal it was out of the question. 

On January 14, 1858, an attempt was made by an 
Italian called Felice Orsini, and others, to assassinate 
the Emperor of the French. The Emperor escaped, 
but several bystanders were killed. Orsini, with one 



62 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

confederate, was executed, and the indignation in 
France was extreme. It was proved at the trial that 
the conspiracy had been partly hatched in London, the 
bombs having been made in Birmingham, and the 
French Minister for Foreign Affairs sent, on January 28, 
an angry despatch, in which he demanded that England 
should give up her practice of harbouring criminal 
refugees. In consequence of this despatch the Govern- 
ment introduced a Bill which made conspiracy to 
murder felony, punishable with penal servitude, instead 
of a misdemeanour, punishable only with a short term 
of imprisonment. But, meanwhile, the British public 
had been highly incensed by the violent language of 
some French officers, which had found its way into the 
' Moniteur,' the official organ of the French Ministry. 
There was a strong feeling against abridging the right 
of asylum, and Palmerston was attacked for not 
having immediately replied to Count Walewski's 
demands. Milner-Gibson, who had found another seat, 
expressed this sentiment in a long amendment, which 
he moved on the second reading of the Bill. Glad- 
stone spoke in favour of the amendment, maintaining 
that to pass such a measure, at such a time, involved 
moral complicity with the repressive acts of despotic 
monarchies. The second reading of the Bill was 
moved on February 19 ; the amendment was carried 
by a majority of nineteen, and on February 22 Palmer- 



THE PEEIOD OF TEANSITION 63 

ston announced his resignation. The Queen sent for 
Lord Derby, who again applied to Gladstone. Glad- 
stone, however, refused the invitation, and a purely 
Conservative Government was again formed. But 
when, in May, Lord EUenborough, the President of the 
Board of Control, resigned, Lord Derby pressed the 
office upon Gladstone, and Disraeli entreated him to 
accept it. If he had complied with this invitation he 
would have been the last President of the Board and 
the first Secretary of State for India. He declined it, 
however, and this was the last offer be received from 
the Tories. On May 4 he moved an address to the 
Crown in favour of reuniting the Danubian Princi- 
palities, in accordance with the wishes of their inhabi- 
tants and with the Treaty of Paris. The motion was 
defeated by a majority of 178, but it was only premature. 
Within three years, in December, 1861, Moldavia and 
Wallachia became the single Principality, now King- 
dom, of Eoumania. Gladstone's only other important 
speech in that Session was delivered against the 
third reading of Sir John Trelawny's Bill for the 
abolition of Church rates, which he was afterwards 
himself to abolish. 

Gladstone had now been more than three years out 
of office, and the fruits of his comparative leisure 
appeared in his work on Homer and the Homeric age. 
Although Gladstone never attained, nor deserved, the 



64 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

same celebrity as a writer which he enjoyed as an orator, 
he was indefatigable with his pen, and had been for 
some years a pretty regular contributor to the 
* Quarterly Eeview,' as he became long afterwards to 
the ' Contemporary Eeview,' the * Nineteenth Century,' 
and other periodicals. It was in the ' Quarterly ' that 
he first wrote on the subject of Homer, being induced 
to do so by the destructive criticisms of Lachmann upon 
the integrity of Homer's text. The book, published in 
the summer of 1858 at the Oxford University Press, is 
one of the most extraordinary that have ever been com- 
posed by a man of affaii's. It is not, never has been, 
and never can be popular; but it is a monument of 
erudition, of eloquence, of literary criticism, of poetic 
taste, and of speculations the most fantastic in which 
a student ever indulged. It can only be judged- by 
scholars, and their judgment is very different upon the 
different aspects of the work. Gladstone was himself 
a thorough scholar in the old-fashioned sense of the 
term. He knew the Greek and Latin classics as well as 
they could be known by anyone who had not devoted 
his life to their study — as well as Pitt, or Fox, or Peel, 
or Macaulay, or Lord Derby. In his accurate and 
minute acquaintance with Homer he has never been 
surpassed. His account of the social, personal, and 
political Kfe which Homer describes is not only most 
interesting, but most valuable, even when he comes 



THE PEEIOD OP TBANSITION 65 

into conflict with the more prosaic mind but somider 
judgment of Mr. Grote. He was not, however, con- 
tent with expounding the Homeric poems. He made a 
whole series of assumptions, and from them he deduced 
inferences which, however subtle, have no solid ground 
to rest upon. He assumed that Homer was an actual 
person, that he was the sole author both of the * Iliad ' 
and of the * Odyssey,' and that the whole text of those 
poems is equally genuine. He put into Homer's mind, 
or into the minds of the Ballad-mongers who, as some 
think, are called by that collective name, ideas which 
were utterly alien to the Greek mind, and which would 
have been quite as strange to Aristotle as to Homer. 
He saw in Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades — that is to say, 
in Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto — an analogue of the 
Trinity. He connected the Homeric Ate with the 
devil, and he regarded Apollo as a ' representative of 
the Messianic tradition that the seed of the woman 
should crush the serpent's head.' To the comparative 
philologist, to the scientific mythologist, and to the 
merely secular scholar, these ideas have no real mean- 
ing at all. But the work remains a marvellous example 
of deep and even sublime meditation upon all that is 
contained and all that is suggested by the greatest 
epic poems of the world. 

It was said to be partly in consequence of this book, 
and of the enthusiasm for modem Greece expressed in it, 

F 



66 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

that in November, 1858, Sir Edward Lytton, Secretary 
for the Colonies, entrusted Gladstone with a special 
mission to the Ionian Islands. These seven islands, of 
which Corfu is the chief, had been under a British 
protectorate since the peace of 1815. That they were 
well administered was not denied; but they had a 
strong desire for union with Greece, and their discontent 
became so serious that the Government felt it necessary 
to make inquiry into its origin. Gladstone visited the 
Islands, and did his best to discourage the agitation by 
promising them a larger measure of self-government 
under English rule. But there was only one thing they 
wanted, and a proposal for incorporation with the 
Greek kingdom was carried unanimously by the Legis- 
lative Assembly at Corfu. Gladstone left Corfu on 
February 19, 1859, and duly reported what he had 
seen. But it was not till 1864, when King Otho 
abdicated and was succeeded by King George, that the 
Islands finally became Greek. 

On February 28, 1859, Mr. Disraeli, now for 
the second time Chancellor of the Exchequer and 
leader of the House of Conamons, brought in his first 
Eeform Bill. It was, however, as much Lord Derby's 
as his, and Lord Derby, though now the leader of 
the Conservative Party, had all his life been a Par- 
liamentary reformer. The Bill was of the mildest 
possible character. It extended the lOZ. franchise from 



THE PBBIOD OF TBANSITION 67 

boroughs to counties, and it introduced the first form 
of the lodger vote. But it entirely ignored the' working 
classes, while it proposed some kinds of franchise 
unknown before and unheard of since. It proposed to 
give votes to everyone holding 101. in any Government 
security, or 60Z. in a savings bank, or receiving 201. 
by way of a pension, as well as to all graduates, clergy- 
men, lawyers, doctors, and schoolmasters. Mr. Bright, 
in one of his happiest phrases, dubbed these proposals 
* fancy franchises,' and this expression was really the 
death of the Bill. Small as the measure was, however, 
it was too large for two members of the Cabinet. On 
March 1, Mr. Walpole and Mr. Henley intimated 
their resignation. On March 20 the second reading 
of the Bill was moved, and the debate was continued 
for seven nights. Lord John Kussell proposed a 
hostile amendment, against which Gladstone spoke. 
He did not approve of the Bill, which he considered 
totally inadequate. But he defended with unexpected 
vigour the maintenance of pocket boroughs, and he 
expressly declined to give a vote which might have the 
effect of turning out Lord Derby's Administration. 
His advocacy of the Government was, however, 
unsuccessful. On April 1 the House divided, and 
the second reading of the Bill was rejected by a 
majority of thirty-nine. On April 20, Lord Derby 
and Mr. Disraeli announced the dissolution of Parlia- 

F 2 



68 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

ment. The policy of this dissolution was severely 
criticised, and Gladstone was among the critics. But 
though he himself was again returned without opposi- 
tion for Oxford, the Government gained a considerable 
number of seats. They did not, however, gain enough. 
The Liberal Party, after the election, had a small but 
a sufficient majority. At a meeting held in Willis's 
Kooms, and attended by Mr. Bright, they all agreed to 
act together. The new Parliament met on May 31, the 
Queen's Speech was read on June 7, and Lord Hart- 
ington, afterwards Duke of Devonshire, who now 
appeared for the first time in politics, at once gave 
notice, as an amendment to the Address, of a vote of 
no confidence in the Government of Lord Derby. The 
debate turned partly upon the impolicy of the recent 
dissolution, but its main subject was foreign a£fairs. 

A war had broken out between France and Austria 
which, it was argued, the Government might have 
averted. Lord Malmesbury, the Foreign Secretary, 
was suspected, not without reason, of hostility to 
Italian independence, which was the avowed object of 
the war on the part of France. By some design, or 
accident never fully explained, Mr. Disraeli did 
not present the Blue Book, which proved, even in 
Mr. Cobden's opinion, that the Government had 
observed an attitude of strict neutrality, till after 
the division in the House of Commons. In that 



THE PBEIOD OF TEANSITION 69 

division the Ayes were 323 and the Noes 310 ; thus 
giving the Opposition the narrow majority of thirteen. 
Gladstone voted silently with the Government. Lord 
Derby resigned, and the Queen, feeling it invidious 
to choose between Lord Palmerston and Lord John 
Eussell, sent for Lord Granville. Lord Granville, 
however, failed, chiefly because Lord John refused to 
serve under him, and the Queen then sent for Lord 
Palmerston, who succeeded without difficulty in form- 
ing an Administration. He offered the Chancellorship 
of the Exchequer to Gladstone, who accepted it. This 
was one of the strangest incidents in Gladstone's 
career, and he felt the necessity of an explanation. 
Having twice voted in favour of Lord Derby's Govern- 
ment, he had immediately taken service with Lord 
Derby's rival and successor. Not being able, as a 
University member, to address his constituents, he 
wrote a long letter on the subject to Dr. Hawkins, the 
Provost of Oriel. No one could accuse him of being 
an office-seeker ; he had three times refused office 
and twice resigned it. It was extremely improbable 
that he would ever again be approached by the Tories, 
and if, like Mr. Cobden, he had declined Lord Palmer- 
ston's offer, it was quite possible that, like Mr. Cobden, 
who had had no official experience, he would have 
remained a private member for the rest of his life. 
There can be little doubt that he felt himself at that 



70 LIPE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

time to be the man best capable of managing the 
national finances, which were by no means in a satis- 
factory state. To Dr. Hawkins he pointed out that 
most of the new Cabinet, which contained only one 
Kadical, Mr. Milner-Gibson, were the men with whom 
he had acted in the Government of Lord Aberdeen. 
But feeling at Oxford was much excited by what 
appeared to be his permanent enlistment in the Liberal 
ranks, and his seat, vacated by his appointment, was 
keenly contested. The Tory candidate was Lord 
Chandos, afterwards Duke of Buckingham, who polled 
859 against 1,050 for Gladstone. Gladstone's first 
ofiGicial duty was to introduce the Budget, which had 
been unduly delayed by the General Election. He had 
to provide for a deficit of nearly 5,000,000Z. He did 
so mainly by raising the Income Tax from 5d, to 9d., 
the whole of the increase to be paid in the first half 
of the financial year. 



71 



CHAPTER VIII 

GLADSTONIAN FINANCE 

The Budget of 1860 was one of Gladstone's greatest 
and most memorable achievements. It had been 
preceded by the Commercial Treaty with France 
which Mr. Cobden, holding no official position, had, 
under Gladstone's superintendence, concluded in the 
autunm with the Emperor of the French. By this 
Treaty, which was to last for ten years, England agreed 
to abolish all duties on manufactured goods and to reduce 
the duties on brandy and wine. France agreed to 
lower her tariff on English goods and to treat England 
on the footing of the most favoured nation. In his 
Budget speech, which was a brilliant success, and 
revived the memories of 1853, Gladstone met the 
arguments of those who said that a Commercial Treaty 
was an abandonment of Free Trade. He showed that 
the duties abolished were essentially protective, so that 
his scheme was in effect the completion of what Peel 
had begun in 1842, and continued in 1846. Meeting 
a plea that his Budget relieved only the rich, because 
the taxes remitted were not paid by the poor, he 



72 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

proved that the poor did not pay them only because 
they were prohibitive, and confined the articles on 
which they were imposed exclusively to the well-to-do. 
The reductions, he said, would have been advantageous 
to this country even if France had done nothing, and 
the concessions made by France rendered them doubly 
profitable. Before closing that part of his great speech 
which dealt with the Treaty, he paid an eloquent 
tribute to Cobden, who had performed for the second 
time in his life, without fee or reward, an inestimable 
service to his country. The Budget also made further 
reductions in the taxes upon articles of food. It 
imposed a registration duty of a penny a packet upon 
imported and exported goods, and a duty of 65. upon 
chicory, which was largely used in the adulteration of 
coffee. An Excise licence was granted to the keepers 
of eating-houses, enabling them, for the first time, to 
sell beer and wine on the premises, and thus affording 
an alternative to the public-house. The Paper Duty 
was repealed. The Income Tax was raised to lOd. 
upon all incomes above 150Z., and to Id. below that 
amount. Incomes below lOOZ. had never paid it since 
the time of Pitt. To illustrate the effect of his pro- 
posals in promoting the freedom of commerce, Glad- 
stone explained that while in 1845 the number of 
articles subject to Customs duties was 1,163, and in 
1853, 460, it was now brought down to 48. 



GLADSTONIAN FINANCE 73 

The first opposition to this historical Budget was 
raised on February 20, when Mr. Disraeli moved that the 
assent of the House should be obtained for the Treaty 
before they discussed the items of the Budget. Glad- 
stone's reply was chiefly founded on precedent, especially 
the precedent set by Pitt in 1798. The majority for 
the Government was sixty-three. The next day Mr. Du 
Cane moved an amendment hostile to the whole prin- 
ciple of the financial scheme. But this was defeated 
by 116, and with one exception the proposals of the 
Budget were now safe. To meet the scruples of those 
who apprehended that the House of Commons was 
losing its control over commercial instruments, a 
ministerial member, Mr. Byng, moved, on March 8, an 
address to the Crown in favour of the Treaty, which 
was carried by 282. To the Bill providing for the 
repeal of the paper duty a much more serious resistance 
was o£fered. It came partly from the manufacturers 
of paper, and partly from the proprietors of the more 
expensive journals, who were afraid of the competition 
it would encourage. But the second reading was 
carried by a majority of fifty-three, and the House rose 
for the Easter recess. 

Meanwhile, on March 1, the exact anniversary 
of the day on which the great Keform Bill had been 
moved by Lord John Eussell, Lord John, now Foreign 
Secretary, introduced his second Keform Bill. There 



74 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

were no fancy franchises in it. It reduced the county 
franchise to lOZ. and the borough franchise to 61. It 
provided for a sUght redistribution of seats, and 
gave a member to the University of London. The 
second reading was moved on March 19, and on May 3, 
after a speech from Gladstone in support of it, was 
carried without a division. But the Conservatives, 
though they would not take the sense of the House, 
resorted to dilatory tactics, which fatally impeded the 
progress of the measure, and on June 11 it was with- 
drawn. On April 16, Gladstone, who had been elected 
Lord Kector of the University of Edinburgh, delivered 
an address on the function of Universities, which is 
now chiefly interesting as being the first of the kind 
that he was called upon to give. 

When Parliament met again after the Eecess 
a very formidable campaign was opened against the 
Paper Bill, and the third reading was only cairied 
by a majority of nine. In a letter to the Queen, for 
which it would be difficult to find a precedent. Lord 
Palmerston, who was of course as much responsible for 
the Bill a$ Gladstone himself, intimated that this divi- 
sion would probably encourage the House of Lords to 
throw it out, that if they did so they would perform a 
public service, and that the Government might well 
submit to so welcome a defeat. Throughout Lord 
Palmerston's second Administration a feeUng of more 



GLADSTONIAN FINANCE 75 

or less active hostiHty prevailed between himself and 
his Chancellor of the Exchequer. They agreed upon 
scarcely any subject except Italian unity, and it is 
marvellous that they should have remained in the same 
Cabinet so long. But though Gladstone frequently 
threatened to resign, he remained in office for the rest 
of Lord Palmerston's life, and for some time afterwards. 
On May 21, Lord Granville moved the second reading 
of the Paper Bill in the House of Lords. After a learned 
argument from Lord Lyndhurst to prove that the 
Lords might reject though they could not amend a 
money Bill, and a personal attack on Gladstone by Lord 
Derby, which he combined with effusive compliments 
to Lord Palmerston, the Bill was thrown out by a 
majority of eighty-nine. On May 25, Palmerston moved 
for a Committee to inquire into the privileges of the 
House of Commons and the rights of the House of 
Lords in matters of taxation. The Committee having 
sat and drawn up a purely historical report, Palmerston 
moved, on July 5, a series of resolutions, carefully framed 
and of great political value, which set out in effect that 
the grant of supply is in the Commons alone. His 
speech, as might have been expected, was a mild one, 
and advanced Liberals complained that he had prac- 
tically given up the case. But Gladstone made amends 
in their eyes for the deficiencies of his chief. In the 
most Badical speech that he had yet made, he affirmed 



76 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

that for two hundred years the Lords had never ventured 
to retain a tax which the Commons had remitted, and, 
answering Lord Lyndhurst by implication, he pointed 
out that it was not their power to reject money Bills, 
but their right to interfere with taxation, which the 
representatives of the people were bound to combat. 
In significant language, not sufficiently noticed at the 
time, he reserved to himself the right of enforcing the 
Commons privileges, not by words, but by action. 
The vote of the Lords was, however, decisive for the 
year, and on August 6 the House of Commons divided 
upon retaining the Customs duty on foreign paper, 
which was not touched by the vote. Gladstone, how- 
ever, pointed out that this question was concluded by 
the Treaty, and his view was sustained by a majority 
of thirty-three. In the month of July it became 
necessary for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to pro- 
vide for the cost of the Chinese Expedition jointly 
carried out by England and France under Lord Elgin, 
who had superseded Sir John Bowring and Baron 
Gros. He found the money by increasing the spirit 
duties 1$. a gallon. 

Gladstone's budgets were the greatest and most 
popular events of Palmerston's second and longer 
Administration. They excited nnparaUeled interest in 
the country, and the House of Commons was always 
crowded from floor to roof when they came on. Mr. 



GLADSTONIAN EINANCE 77 

Disraeb", who, though he was three times Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, never becsune an expert financier, could 
make no head against them, albeit his Parliamentary 
genius was never more fully displayed than as leader of 
the Opposition in the Parliament of 1859. But before 
the Budget of 1861 Gladstone introduced a social and 
economic reform which has proved immensely advan- 
tageous to the lower and middle classes of society. This 
was the Post Office Savings Bank Bill, which he brought 
in on February 8, and which became law without any 
serious difficulty. Hitherto small savings could only be 
invested on the security of Government through the 
savings banks, which were 600 in number, and open for 
but a few hours in the day. The Bill enabled them to be 
invested through the postal and money-order offices, of 
which there were then between 2,000 and 3,000, and 
which were open from morning till night. The rate of 
interest was two and a half per cent., which, though not 
large, was quite sufficient for the purpose; and the 
success of the measure was as inunediate as it was com- 
plete. On February 27, Gladstone, speaking as member 
for Oxford, and not as a Cabinet Minister, again opposed 
the Bill for the abolition of Church rates. He ex- 
plained that if he had been in favour of it he should 
have felt bound to resign his seat, although, as he said, 
there would have been some difficulty in his conferring 
the Chiltem Hundreds upon himself. He proposed, 



78 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

however, a compromise, which the Dissenters would not 
accept, that it should be left for each parish to deter- 
mine whether they would have a Church rate or not. 
While he voted against the Bill, Lord Palmerston and 
Lord John Bussell voted for it. On March 4 began a 
very important debate in the House of Commons upon 
Italian policy. It was raised by Mr., afterwards Sir, 
John Pope Hennessy, who made a strenuous attack 
upon Lord John Bussell for his Italian sympathies. 
On March 7, the last night of the debate, Gladstone 
spoke with great fervour and eloquence on behalf of 
Italian unity and independence. 

On April 15 he introduced his Budget, in a speech 
which was pronounced by some impartial critics to be 
the finest he had yet delivered. He took oflf the penny 
which he had put on the Income Tax the year before, 
bringing it down again to 9d, for the larger and 6d. 
for the smaller incomes. He again proposed the repeal 
of the Paper Duty. As for the Income Tax, he declared 
that it depended entirely upon the national expenditure. 
If, he said, the country would be content to be governed 
at the cost of 60,000,000^., they might get rid of the tax. 
If they persisted in spending 70,000,000?., it was im- 
possible for them to dispense with it. The repeal of 
the Paper Duty was once more vigorously opposed, and 
Mr. Horsfall, supported by the whole of the Conserva- 
tive Party, moved that the Tea Duty should be abolished 



GLADSTONIAN FINANCE 79 

instead. The motion was defeated by a majority of 
eighteen ; but the Conservatives made a good deal of 
play with the cry of tea before paper. Gladstone had 
been subjected to some ridicule for his defeat by the 
House of Lords in the previous year. But those laugh 
best who laugh last. It now became apparent that he 
knew weU what he was about when he reserved to him- 
self in 1860 the right of asserting by action the 
privileges of the Commons. By a bold and practical 
innovation, which has ever since been the rule of 
Parliament, he included all the taxes in one Bill. This 
Bill, being a money Bill, could not be amended by the 
Lords, who were, therefore, reduced to the alternative 
of either accepting it as it stood or of refusing to con- 
cur in any provision for the public service of the year. 
This masterly stroke succeeded. Although the removal 
of the tax was finally carried in the House of 
Commons by the small majority of fifteen, the Lords 
did not venture to interfere, and, on June 7, they 
adopted without a division the Customs and Inland 
Kevenue Bill, which included thelabolition of the Paper 
Duty. From this time dates the cheap press, and the 
first pubUcation of penny papers forthwith began. On 
May 7 the subject of the Ionian Islands was brought 
before the House of Commons, and Gladstone naturally 
took part in it. He did not approve of their immediate 
incorporation with the Greek Kingdom, pleading that 



80 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

Greece did not want them. But the whole Govern- 
ment were of opinion that when Greece did want them 
she ought to have them, and soon after the accession 
of King George, in 1863, they were made over to her. 

The excessive expenditure of which Gladstone 
complained was mainly due to the large sums which 
Lord Palmerston demanded for the fortification of 
the coasts and of the seaports. Against these heavy 
grants Gladstone more than once protested, and his 
protests went to the verge of resignation. He agreed 
rather with Mr. Cobden than with his Chief ; and when 
the subject was under discussion his absence from the 
House was observed. Many of the Conservatives were 
disposed to take the same line, including Mr. Disraeli, 
who denounced 'bloated armaments.' They went 
so far as to propose a motion in that sense which, if 
carried, would have put an end to the Government. 
But at the last moment, by the advice of Lord Derby, 
and much to Mr. Disraeli's disgust, Mr. Walpole, who 
had given notice of it, withdrew it, and the House 
unanimously agreed to a vague resolution in favour of 
economy, suggested by Lord Palmerston himself. 

The Budget of 1862, introduced on April 3, was 
comparatively prosaic. The Civil War in America, 
and the blockade of the southern ports which it 
involved, had greatly raised the price of cotton, and 
seriously diminished British trade with the United 



GLADSTONIAN FINANCE 81 

States. That, and a succession of bad harvests, the 
worst of which fell in 1860, had interfered with the 
growth of the revenue, and no great remission of 
taxation was possible. Gladstone, however, repealed 
the Hop Duty, a very unpopular impost, and substituted 
for it a readjustment of brewers' Hcences, which made 
the larger brewers pay more and the smaller brewers 
pay less. He also modified the scale of the wine 
duties, giving a further advantage to the light as 
against the strong sorts of wine. It is to this Budget 
and to the Budget of 1860 that we owe the name of 
'Gladstone claret.' To this Budget there was no 
opposition worth speaking of, though Lord Overstone, 
a great authority in the City, expressed to the House of 
Lords grave misgivings about what he considered a dan- 
gerous reduction in the number of taxable commodities. 
On April 11 the state of Italy was again brought 
before Parliament, this time by Sir George Bowyer. 
Indeed, it was only the Irish Catholics who took 
any prominent part in resisting the ItaUan poUcy 
in which Lord Palmerston, Lord John, who had 
now become Earl, Eussell, Bind Gladstone equally 
shared. This debate led to no definite result ; but 
it is memorable for Gladstone's fullest and most 
elaborate statement of the views which he had long 
felt on the liberation of the Italian Peninsula. He 
concluded, as a friend of France, with a courteous 



82 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

but most earnest protest against the occupation of 
Eome by the French troops. The rest of his speeches 
during the year were made, for the most part, outside 
the walls of Parliament. Li March he took the chair 
at a meeting of Old Etonians, who presented a 
testimonial to their distinguished schoolfellow, Charles 
Kean, the eminent actor, and spoke of the great moral 
influence which Kean's representation of Shakespearian 
characters had exercised. In April he delivered, at 
Manchester, an appreciative eulogy of the Prince 
Consort, who had died at the end of the previous year. 
A less fortunate utterance, in some respects the most 
unfortunate of his life, occurred in a speech at New- 
castle on October 7. He then said that Jefferson 
Davis, leader of the Confederate Bebellion, had made 
an army, had made a navy, and, what was more, had 
made a nation. He also expressed his opinion that 
the reunion of the North and the South, as a result of 
the war, was impossible. These views were held at 
the time by the vast majority of the upper and middle 
classes in England, though the working classes, who 
suffered most by the war, never subscribed to them. 
The prophecy, however mistaken, was repeated in even 
stronger terms by both Lord Bussell and Lord Derby 
in the following year. It has to be remembered that 
the war was not ostensibly begun for the extinction of 
slavery, but for the maintenance of the Union, and that 



GLADSTONIAN FINANCE 83 

even Lincoln declared himself at the outset to be no 
abolitionist. But it was against slavery that the 
troops of the North really fought ; and in 1867 Glad- 
stone had the manliness to avow that he had entirely 
misunderstood the real nature of the struggle. 

On April 15, 1863, Gladstone, for the first time, 
supported the Burials Bill, then in the hands of Sir 
Morton Peto, which proposed to give Dissenters the 
right of being buried with their own ceremonies in the 
parish churchyards. But the Bill was rejected by 221 
votes against 96 ; and it was seventeen years before this 
reform was carried. The next day, April 16, Gladstone 
brought in his annual Budget. There was a large 
surplus, notwithstanding the cotton famine in Lanca- 
shire, which had become terribly severe, and the great 
distress in Ireland caused by the failure of crops. The 
price of cotton had risen during the war from 6d. to 2s. 
a pound, and our trade with America suffered heavily in 
consequence. The benefits of the Commercial Treaty 
with France were now for the first time fully seen, 
and the enormous increase in Anglo-French trade 
made up for the loss in the Anglo-American. Gladstone 
was enabled to take 2d. oflf the Income Tax, reducing it 
from 9d. to Id. in the pound ; he also raised the limit 
of partial exemption from incomes of 150Z. to incomes 
of 2001. a year, and he abolished the penny a packet 
duty on registration, which he had himself imposed in 

G 2 



84 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

1860, but which had proved a failure ; he also lowered 
the Tea Duty from Is. 5d, to Is, So far the Budget 
encountered no opposition, though a proposal to Ucence 
clubs was withdrawn. But another proposal, to remove 
the exemption from Income Tax enjoyed by charitable 
endowments, excited a furious controversy. On May 4, 
Gladstone received the largest deputation which had 
ever waited on a Minister, and which came to protest 
against this change. It was headed by the Duke of 
Cambridge, and attended by both the Archbishops, as 
well as by many other bishops, clergymen, and philan- 
thropic laymen. Gladstone declined to argue the 
matter with them, and reserved what he had to say for 
the House of Commons the same evening. Upon that 
occasion he delivered what has been described by com- 
petent judges as the most convincing piece of abstract 
argument ever addressed to a legislative assembly. He 
pointed out that the exemption was not really given to 
charities, but to charitable bequests, which, as they did 
not take effect till after the death of the testator, were 
not real charity at all. Every penny given by a man 
to charitable objects in his lifetime, though it might 
involve not only generosity but privation, was taxed to 
the uttermost. He asked whether it was right and just 
that Parliament should not merely allow perfect 
freedom of bequest, but should specially favour wills 
which might endow a charitable institution and leave 



GLADSTONIAN FINANCE 85 

the testator's family to starve. He showed that, while 
endowed hospitals were favoured, unendowed hospitals 
received no indulgence ; he contrasted Christ's Hospital, 
which received under this exemption a large sum, and 
King's College, which received nothing ; he gave an 
appalling list of charitable endowments which had 
been proved by Eoyal Commissions to be actively 
mischievous ; he asserted that an exemption from a 
tax was a grant of public money, and he denied the 
moral right of Parliament to grant money without 
retaining control of it. No serious attempt was made^ 
or ever has been made, to answer this speech. But it 
had absolutely no effect upon the House ; no indepen- 
dent member on either side supported the Chancellor of 
the Exchequer. The Government declined to make it 
a question of confidence, and the proposal was with- 
drawn. 

On July 2, Gladstone, speaking this time with the 
full authority of the Government and supported by 
Mr. Disraeli, suffered an overwhelming defeat. His pro- 
posal to purchase the buildings used for the Exhibition 
of 1862, for 105,000Z., was rejected by 287 votes against 
121. It was apparently regarded as a Court job. In 
the course of this year Gladstone brought out, with 
Lord Lyttelton, a joint volume of translations. Glad- 
stone's were from Greek, Latin, Italian, and German, 
into English, as well as from Enghsh into Greek and 



86 LTFE OP W. K GLADSTONE 

Latin. Li the latter accomplishment^ however, he was 
£ar inferior to Lord Lyttelton. The best of his daasical 
translations is from the battle-piece in the foorth book 
of the 'Iliad,' with the famons simile of the waves 
breaking on the beach. Bnt the best in the whole 
book is his spirited rendering into English of Manaooi's 
ode on the death of Napoleon. The most popular, or 
at least the best known, is the version, in rfajming 
Latin, of Toplady*s famons hynm ' Bock of Ages.* 

The Bndget of 1864 was introduced on April 7; 
the sorplus was two millions and a haU. With this 
Gladstone reduced the sugar duties by a sum of 
1,700,000L, and further lowered the Income Tax from 
7dL to 6€L He also made a small concession to the 
agricultural interest — tcx which he got no thanks — hj 
exempting from duty malt employed in feeding catde. 
The principal measure of the year, besides the Budget, 
was a BiU for providing GoTemment annuitieB and 
Govemmefit insurance through the Post Office Savings 
Banks. The Bill wis severdy CTitidsed ;but Gladstoaie 
saved it by oonsentang to lay it beloe a Sdect Com- 
mittee, whkh reported favouraUy upcm it, and it pa^ed 
into law without furihar difficulty. 

The subject of Schleswig-Holstmi was htougiit 
before PariiameBit by Mr. Disraeli (XI JTufy 4. Byatraty 
of 185% Engtand, Fraooe, and Bussb. were pledged to 
protect the integrity of the Danish ISngdom as it sbood 



GLADSTONIAN FINANCE 87 

at the accession of King Christian. Austria and Prussia 
had, however, occupied the Duchies on the ground that 
they were not Danish but German. Lord Mahnesbury 
carried in the House of Lords, by nine votes, a motion 
censuring the Government for not fulfilling its pledge 
under the treaty. Mr. Disraeli, while criticising the 
policy of the Government with great severity, stopped 
short of sajong that they ought to have gone to war 
without France and Bussia, who had refused to inter- 
fere. This was the mainstay to Gladstone's argument 
in defence of the Cabinet. He contended that the 
liability was joint and not several, so that it ceased 
with the refusal of the other Powers to act. The 
motion was lost by a majority of eighteen, and the 
result greatly strengthened Lord Palmerston's Govern- 
ment. 

But Gladstone's most important speech this year 
had been made at an earlier date. On Wednesday 
afternoon, May 11, Mr. Baines, afterwards Sir Edward 
Baines, moved the second reading of his Beform Bill, 
which lowered the franchise from lOZ. to 6Z. Since 
the removal of Lord Bussell from the House of Com- 
mons the Government had done nothing in the direction 
of Parliamentary Beform. But on this occasion, in Lord 
Palmerston's absence, Gladstone gave Mr. Baines's 
Bill his powerful support. This was the most frankly 
democratic speech he had yet made. He pointed out 



88 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

that only one-fiftieth of the working classes had votes. 
He claimed the right of every man, not disqualified, to 
come within the pale of the Constitution, and he stated 
that the burden of proof rested with those who denied 
any man's right to vote. He implored the House not 
to wait for agitation before they widened the suffrage, 
and he appealed to the fortitude of the operatives in 
the Lancashire famine as a proof that they were 
eminently qualified to discharge all the duties of 
citizens. The ultimate effect of this spirited declara- 
tion was immense ; but it had little or no influence on 
the division, and the House refused, by 272 votes 
against 56, to read the Bill a second tune. 

On March 28, 1865, Mr. Dillwyn, Liberal member 
for Swansea, asked the House of Commons to declare 
that the position of the Lish Church was unsatisfactory, 
and demanded the early attention of the Government. 
Gladstone declined on behalf of the Cabinet to accept 
the motion. But he did so only on the ground that it 
was inopportune. He fully admitted that the Lish 
Church was what Mr. Dillwyn described it. Establish- 
ments, he said, were meant for the whole nation, but 
barely one-eighth of the Lish people belonged to the 
Established Church. As a missionary Church she had 
been a failure, for the proportion of Lish Protestants 
to Irish Catholics was far smaller in the nineteenth 
century than in the sixteenth. But the Government 



GLADSTONIAN FINANCE 89 

were not at that moment prepared to say what should 
be done. The great dijB&culty was the disposal of the 
endowments, which the Eoman Catholics had no 
desire to share. The motion came to nothing, for the 
debate was adjourned and never resumed. But it was 
the beginning of the end. 

On April 27, Gladstone introduced his Budget, and 
triumphantly pointed to a considerable decrease in the 
national expenditure. Keviewing the commercial legis- 
lation of that long Parliament, he paid once more an 
eloquent tribute to the public services of Mr. Cobden, 
which derived a melancholy interest from Cobden's 
death a few weeks before. He announced a surplus of 
four millions, with which he lowered the duty on tea 
from Is. to 6d. in the pound, and the Income Tax 
from 6d. to 4d., which he declared to be its proper 
rate in time of peace. The question whether it should 
be retained at all he left to the new Parliament. He 
reduced the tax on fire insurance by one-half, not 
willingly, but of necessity, having been previously 
defeatedin the House when he resisted Mr. Sheridan's 
proposal for its reduction. On the other hand, he 
refused, in spite of a subsequent defeat, to abolish the 
duty on the certificates of attorneys and solicitors. 
On June 14, Mr. Goschen moved the second reading of 
a Bill removingtheological tests for University degrees. 
Gladstone opposed the Bill in a speech which gave great 



90 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

offence to many of his Liberal admirers. He said that 
he would be no party to separating knowledge from 
religion, and he praised the wisdom of the denomi- 
national system. The academic Liberals complained 
that their leader had turned round and fired in their 
faces. 



91 



CHAPTEE IX 

UNMUZZLED 

Ok July 6 Parliament was prorogued, and, having 
lasted six years, was immediately afterwards dissolved. 
The result of the General Election, which excited little 
interest, was the return of 367 Liberals and 290 Con- 
servatives. This was a Liberal gain of forty-eight votes 
on a division. The chief Liberal victories were in 
Lreland, where the Catholics had been greatly incensed 
at an attack made upon them by Lord Derby in the 
House of Lords. But the chief event of the elections 
was Gladstone's defeat at Oxford. The nomination 
took place on July 13, and the poll, under an Act 
passed the year before, lasted for five days. The same 
Act also allowed, for the first time, the use of voting 
papers, which could be sent by post, and thus, by in- 
creasing the practical power of the non-residents, con- 
tributed to Gladstone's defeat. His Tory colleague, 
Sir William Heathcote, was virtually unopposed. But 
the Tories ran a second candidate, Mr. Gathome Hardy, 
afterwards Earl of Cranbrook. On July 18 the numbers 
were declared as follows: Heathcote, 3^236; Hardy, 



92 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

1,904 ; Gladstone, 1,724 ; being a majority for Hardy 
over Gladstone of 180. Gladstone had a majority 
among the resident members of the University, and 
even among the heads of houses. Of the professors, 
twenty-four voted for him, and only ten against him. 
Bishop Wilberforce used all his influence in support of 
his old friend, who received the suffrages, not only of 
Jowett and Pattison, but of Keble and Pusey . On July 1 7, 
the day before the declaration of the poll at Oxford, 
Gladstone had been nominated for South Lancashire. 
On the 18th he wrote a dignified farewell to the 
University, and on the same day arrived at Manchester, 
where he addressed a crowded meeting in the Free 
Trade Hall. Borrowing a word which Lord Derby 
had applied to the Catholics, and which had become 
notorious, he described himself as 'unmuzzled,' and 
intimated that a serious check to his Liberal develop- 
ment had been taken away. There was, however, 
another which was soon to follow it. On October 18, 
full of years and honours. Lord Palmerston died. 
Gladstone, who had on July 29 been returned for 
South Lancashire below two Conservatives, at once 
VTrote to Lord Eussell and offered, in the event of the 
Queen sending for the Earl, to continue in office as 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, with or without the lead 
of the House of Commons. The Queen did send for 
Lord Bussell ; he became Prime Minister, and requested 



UNMUZZLED 93 

Gladstone to lead the House in his present office. The 
relations between Gladstone and Eussell were ex- 
tremely cordial, whereas Palmerston had more than 
once written to the Queen about his Chancellor of the 
Exchequer in terms of sarcastic censure, which would 
have been unusually strong if applied to a political 
opponent. 

The principal duty of the new Parliament, after sus- 
pending the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland to provide 
against the first appearance of Fenianism, and passing 
a Bill to authorise the compulsory slaughter of cattle as 
a protection against the rinderpest, was to deal with 
Bef orm. On March 12, Gladstone introduced the Bef orm 
Bill in the House of Commons. The Bill reduced the 
franchise in counties from a property qualification of 
50Z. to one of lOZ. and the borough franchise from lOZ. 
to 71. It gave votes to compound householders, whose 
rates were nominally paid by the landlords, and to every 
man who, for two years, had had 50Z. in a savings bank. 
It also disfranchised the labourers in Government dock- 
yards. A vehement opposition to the Bill was at once 
declared from the Liberal as well as the Conservative 
side of the House. The most eloquent and powerful 
of its Liberal opponents was Mr. Lowe, afterwards 
Viscount Sherbrooke, whose speeches against it were 
among the most polished and pointed ever delivered in 
Parliament. Mr. Bi:ight, in language which has become 



94 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

a permanent part of the political vocabulary, compared 
Lowe and his friends with the company of the dis- 
appointed and discontented whom David gathered into 
the Cave of Adullam. Lord Grosvenor, afterwards 
Duke of Westminster, one of the Adullamites, gave 
notice to move, on the second reading, that the House 
would decline to proceed with the Bill without having 
a scheme of redistribution before it ; and Lord Stanley, 
afterwards Earl of Derby, was announced as his 
seconder. The second reading was postponed till after 
Easter, and during the recess, on April 6, Gladstone 
made an important speech at a Liberal dinner in Liver- 
pool. After deploring the fact that two leading mem- 
bers of the aristocracy had combined to defeat Beform, 
he emphatically declared that in no circumstances 
would the Bill be withdrawn. 'We have,' he said, 
' crossed the Bubicon, broken the bridge, and burned 
the boats behind us.' On April 12 he moved the 
second reading, and took occasion to point out that the 
working classes, who had less share in the representa- 
tion than they enjoyed before the great Beform Act, paid 
five-twelfths of the taxes. He ridiculed the idea that 
they would all vote together as a class, and no pre- 
diction has ever been more amply fulfilled. The debate 
lasted for eight nights, and closed with a reply from 
Gladstone, which is generally considered to be the 
highest flight that his eloquence ever reached. Bising 



UNMUZZLED 96 

at one in the morning, he reviewed the whole course of 
the debate, directing himself more especially to the 
arguments of Mr. Lowe. His speech was a master- 
piece of classical eloquence, freely adorned and illus- 
trated by those rich VirgiUan hexameters with which, 
like Mr. Lowe, he delighted to season his Parliamentary 
oratory. On this occasion he went as far as Aristo- 
phanes, quoting in English, with reference to the 
Adullamites, the great comedian's famous description 
of 'depraved and crooked little men.' Contrasting 
himself with Lord Eussell, a life-long Eeformer, he 
admitted the tardiness of his own conversion, and 
thanked the Liberal party for accepting him as leader. 
His speech was, in fact, far too great for the Bill. But 
he concluded with a prophecy, fulfilled more speedily 
than even he could have anticipated, that time was on 
his side; that the great social forces, which the tumult of 
debate could neither impede nor disturb, were fighting for 
him, and would end in a certain if not distant victory. 
As soon as he sat down the House divided, and Lord 
Grosvenor's amendment was rejected by a bare majority 
of five. A scene of wild enthusiasm followed, in which 
Mr. Lowe and his friends stood up and cheered them- 
selves hoarse. Their triumph was to be greater still 
but it was not to last long. 

Before the House went into Committee on the Bill, 
and amidst a fever of public excitement out of doors, 



96 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Gladstone, on May 3, produced his Budget. The surplus 
was nearly a million and a half. With it he repealed the 
duty on timber, and the Pepper Duty, and reduced the 
duty on bottled wine to the same level as that on wine 
in casks. He also lowered the tax on cabs and omni- 
buses from a penny to a farthing a mile. He announced 
that commercial treaties, on the model of the Treaty 
with France, had been concluded with Belgium, with the 
German Zollverein, and with Austria. He then turned 
to the subject of the National Debt, and pleaded 
earnestly for the importance of making a more serious 
effort towards paying it off. Eeferring to Sir Eroderick 
Murchison, Dr. Percy, Mr. Stanley Jevons, and other 
scientific authorities, he warned the country that the 
supply of coal would probably be exhausted in a hundred 
years, and that the consequent diminution of productive 
power would be enormous. This prediction, though 
supported in debate by Mr. Mill, was generally regarded 
as fantastic. But it was revived many years afterwards 
by Mr. Jevons, and it cannot be said to have ever been 
refuted. He then propounded a scheme by which, 
beginning with a sum of half a million a year, debt to 
the amount of fiity millions would have been extin- 
guished by 1905. But he did not remain in office long 
enough to carry this plan into effect. On May 7, Glad- 
stone fulfilled his promise to the House by bringing in 
a Bedistribution Bill. By grouping the small boroughs 



UNMUZZLED 97 

and taking away one member each from several of them, 
he obtained forty-nine seats, which, without altering the 
number of the House, he distributed among the larger 
towns, the more populous divisions of counties, Scot- 
land, and the University of London. On May 14 the 
Bill was unanimously read a second time. 

On the 28th, which had been fixed for the Committee 
of the Eeform Bill, the serious troubles of the Govern- 
ment began. Sir Eainald Knightley, afterwards Lord 
Knightley , carried against Ministers, by a majority of ten, 
an instruction to include in the Bill provisions for dealing 
with bribery. Captain Hayter, afterwards Sir Arthur 
Hayter, then moved an amendment against the system 
of grouping in the Eedistribution Bill, which had been 
referred to the same Committee as the Eeform Bill ; 
but Gladstone, after a protest against obstruction, 
declared that he did not regard the principle of 
grouping as vital, and the amendment was not pressed. 
Then came the tug of war. Lord Dunkellin, an inmate 
of the Cave, moved in Committee to substitute 
rating for rental as a qualification for the franchise. 
Gladstone opposed this on the double ground that 
it would give the assessors of rates control over the 
suffrage, and that it would much diminish the number 
of new voters. But on June 18 the amendment was 
carried by a majority of eleven, and on the 19th 
Lord Eusseirs Government resigned. The Queen was 

H 



98 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

unwilling to accept their resignation, first because she 
regarded the question on which they had been defeated 
as one of detail, and, secondly, because foreign politics 
were disturbed by the imminence of war between 
Austria and Prussia. Ministers, however, succeeded in 
overcoming her Majesty's scruples, and, on June 26, 
Gladstone defended in the House of Commons the 
course which they had taken. His reasons were mainly 
two. He said that the only alternative to resignation 
was the frank acceptance of the amendment, and that 
the Cabinet had entirely failed to find any practicable 
means of carrying it out. He further stated that the 
measure, as originally drawn, was smaller than the 
Bill of 1860, and that the Government could not con- 
sent to any further diminution of it. The Queen sent 
for Lord Derby, who became, for the third time. Prime 
Minister, with Mr. Disraeli once more Chancellor of the 
Exchequer and leader of the House of Commons. 

Meanwhile, the popular enthusiasm for Eeform 
had become intense. On June 27, 10,000 Londoners 
assembled in Trafalgar Square and marched in pro- 
cession to Gladstone's house. Gladstone himself was 
not at home, but Mrs. Gladstone, in response to 
calls, appeared on the balcony, and there was tumul- 
tuous cheering. On July 23 a great procession of 
Eeformers marched to Hyde Park. The police, by 
direction from the Home Ofl&ce, closed the gates and 



UNMUZZLED 99 

endeavoured to exclude them. But the crowd broke 
down the railings and entered the park in triumph. 
Both Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli, having taken office, 
calmly declared that they had never been opposed to 
the principle of Bef orm, and that they had just as good 
a right to deal with it as their political opponents. 
Gladstone replied, at SaUsbury, by saying that he would 
give an impartial consideration to any plan they might 
propose. Little surprise was therefore felt when a 
paragraph in the Queen's Speech for 1867 announced 
another Eeform Bill. But there was some laughter 
when, on February 11, Mr. Disraeli expressed the 
opinion that Eeform should no longer be allowed to 
determine the fate of Cabinets. He added that, by way 
of taking the House of Commons into their confidence, 
the Government would propose resolutions which might 
be freely discussed before introducing a Bill. The 
resolutions themselves were colourless, and did not 
satisfy the pubhc curiosity. But, on February 25, 
Disraeli announced that he should propose four kinds 
of franchise. ^ 

The first was educational, giving votes to graduates 
and members of the learned professions ; the second 
took the possession of 30Z. in a savings bank for a 
year as the title to a vote ; the third gave the 
franchise to every one who had 50 Z. in the pubhc 
funds ; and the fourth, to everyone who paid 20s. of 

H 2 



100 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

direct taxes. There was to be a 61 , rating franchise in 
the boroughs, and a 202^. franchise in counties. There 
was to be machinery for punishing cases of bribery, 
and corrupt boroughs were to be disfranchised and the 
seats given to other towns, with the University of 
London. Gladstone complained that this plan would 
not give the suffrage to more than half as many persons 
as his own measure which had just been defeated. 
On February 26 there was a Liberal meeting at 
Gladstone's house, and it was decided that Gladstone 
should demand a Bill in place of the resolutions. But 
the same night the Government gave way on this 
point, and a Bill was promised for March 18. On 
the 4th were announced the resignations of Lord Car- 
narvon, Lord Cranbome (formerly Lord Eobert Cecil), 
and General Peel. On the 18th, Disraeli introduced 
the Bill, which explained the resignations. Every rate- 
pa3ang householder was now to have a vote. But this, 
as soon appeared, was a very different thing from house- 
hold suffrage. The educational franchise was preserved, 
with the qualifications of the savings bank and the funds. 
8o was the 11, of direct taxes, but it was specified 
that these were not to include licences. This was to 
meet a remark of Mr. Bright* s, that the clause would 
enfranchise a rat-catcher who kept four dogs. Dual 
voting was introduced, two votes being given to every 
householder whose direct taxes amounted to IL The 



UNMUZZLED 101 

franchise in counties was to be 16L, not 20Z. The 
redistribution, such as it was, was the same ; there were 
to be voting-papers for lazy electors. This was the 
famous * ten minutes Bill,' as it was called, after the 
very candid speech in which Sir John Pakington, 
afterwards Lord Hampton, explained to his constituents 
the desperate hurry in which it had been concocted. 
Gladstone at once protested against the principle of 
dual voting, and insisted upon votes being given to 
lodgers as well as to compound householders. On 
March 25, Disraeli moved the second reading of the 
Bill, and Gladstone took the opportunity of asking 
what concessions the Government were prepared to 
make in Committee. Disraeli replied that he would 
not be unreasonable, which was understood to mean 
that he would be flexible, and the Bill Was read a 
second time without a division. But dual voting was 
dropped so early as April 1. 

On the 5 th there was another meeting at Glad- 
stone's house, when it was arranged that Mr. Coleridge, 
afterwards Lord Chief Justice of England, should move 
an instruction to the Committee, which would have the 
effect of enlarging the number of householders enfran- 
chised. But, in consequence of a protest made at what 
was called the * Tea-room meeting,* part of this instruc- 
tion was dropped, and Mr. Coleridge only moved that 
the Committee should have power to deal with rating. 



102 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

This Disraeli accepted, and Gladstone thereupon 
moved in the Committee that all householders should 
have votes, whether their rates were paid for them or 
not. This amendment was rejected by a majority of 
twenty-one. The blow to Gladstone's authority, as 
leader of the Opposition, was rather serious, and in 
reply to a letter from one of his supporters, Mr. Craw- 
ford, member for the City, he intimated that he should 
not move his other amendments. But during the 
Easter recess a number of meetings were held to 
demand a thorough-going reform, and on May 2 the 
process of enlarging the Bill was begun. Mr. Ayrton 
carried, by a majority of eighty-one, an amendment 
reducing the period of qualification from two years to 
twelve months. Mr. Torrens moved to enfranchise all 
lodgers, and the Government agreed to enfranchise all 
whose rooms were worth lOZ. a year unfurnished. Mr. 
Hodgkinson moved, Gladstone supported, and Disraeli 
accepted an amendment which enfranchised all house- 
holders by the simple, but, as it proved, highly in- 
convenient, process of abohshing the system under 
which a landlord was permitted to compound for the 
rates of his small tenants. This was the principle of 
Gladstone's rejected amendment in another form. The 
county franchise was further lowered from 152. to 12Z.,the 
educational franchise was given up, and the investment 
franchise followed it. Mr. Laing carried^ by fifty-seven 



UNMUZZLED 103 

votes, a scheme of redistribution more thorough than 
the Government's, and Mr. Torrens succeeded in getting 
rid of voting by papers. Lord Cranbome, in an incisive 
speech, pointed out that the Bill, as it left the House 
of Commons, was not Disraeli's but Gladstone's. 
Gladstone, he said, had demanded and obtained, first, 
the lodger franchise ; secondly, the abolition of distinc- 
tion between compounders and non-compounders ; 
thirdly, a provision to prevent traffic in votes ; fourthly, 
the omission of the taxing franchise; fifthly, the 
omission of the dual vote ; sixthly, the enlargement of 
the distribution of seats; seventhly, the reduction of 
the county franchise ; eighthly, the omission of voting- 
papers; ninthly and tenthly, the omission of the 
educational and savings bank franchises. Mr. Mill 
observed that when Disraeh told the working classes that 
he had given them the vote, they replied, * Thank you, 
Mr. Gladstone ; ' and when the Bill reached the House 
of Lords, where it was very httle altered, the Duke of 
Buccleuch declared that the only part of it due to her 
Majesty's Government was the introductory word 
* Whereas.' 

On November 19, Parliament met for an Autumn 
Session to vote supplies for the Abyssinian Expedition. 
Gladstone admitted that there was a good cause for 
war, but protested against territorial aggrandisement 
and the assumption of new political responsibihties. 



104 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

He did not object to the extra penny on the Income 
Tax to pay for the expedition, but when the tax was 
further raised from 5d. to 6d, he strongly condemned 
the extravagance of the Government. The session 
was continued over Christmas by adjournment ; and on 
February 19, 1868, Gladstone moved the second reading 
of a Bill to abolish compulsory Church rates. It was read 
a second time without a division, passed the House of 
Lords, and became law, thus putting an end to a very 
long and very obstinate dispute. On February 26 
Lord Derby resigned, from failing health, and the most 
brilliant of poHtical adventurers became Prime Minister 
of England. But Disraeli had to govern as best he 
could with a minority, and he was constantly defeated 
in the House of Commons. On the Scottish Eeform 
Bill, Mr. Baxter, supported by Gladstone, carried an 
amendment which saved the members of the House 
from being increased, and provided for the disfranchise- 
ment of more small boroughs in England; and Mr. 
Bouverie succeeded in omitting the payment of rates 
as a condition of the franchise in Scotland. But more 
important victories of the Liberal party were at hand. 



105 



CHAPTEE X 

THE lEISH CHUBCH 

On March 16, an Irish member, Mr. Maguire, moved 
that the House should go into Committee to consider 
the state of Ireland. The debate lasted for four nights, 
and on the fourth night Gladstone expressed the 
opinion that the Irish Church as a State Church must 
cease to exist. This declaration produced immense 
excitement, and Mr. Maguire, more than satisfied, 
withdrew his motion. On the 23rd, Gladstone gave 
notice of three resolutions, declaring that the Church 
of Ireland should be disestablished and disendowed, 
and the exercise of public patronage in it at once sus- 
pended to avoid the creation of new vested interests. 
Instead of meeting these resolutions with a direct 
negative, or with the previous question. Lord Stanley, 
on behalf of Ministers, merely proposed an amendment 
that the subject should be left for the new Parhament 
to deal with. On March 30, Gladstone moved that 
the House should go into Committee on his resolutions, 
and in hie speech explained his own personal attitude. 
He had never, he said, since 1846 adhered to the 



106 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

principle of the Irish EBtablishment, and it was his 
refusal to do so in the debate on Mr. Dillwyn's motion 
that lost him his seat for Oxford. He explained that 
his policy was to pass only a suspensory Bill in that 
Parliament, leaving the whole question of disestablish- 
ment and disendowment to be decided by the next. 
After a long debate, and a reply from Gladstone, in 
which he pointed out that concurrent endowment was 
too late, Lord Stanley's amendment was rejected by 
a majority of sixty ; and by a majority of fifty-six the 
House determined to go into Committee on the resolu- 
tions. There was, by this time, a great deal of interest 
out of doors, and meetings on both sides were held 
during the Easter recess. At one of them, in St. 
James's Hall, Lord Bussell, who had retired from the 
leadership of the Liberal Party the previous Christmas, 
presided, and spoke strongly in favour of Irish dis- 
establishment, adding an eloquent eulogy of Gladstone 
as his successor. 

On April 27, Gladstone moved his first resolution in 
favour of disestablishment, and argued that, so far as 
the Church of England was concerned, a bad establish- 
ment did not strengthen, but weakened, a good one. 
After three nights' debate the resolution was carried 
by a majority of sixty-five, and Disraeli asked for 
time to reconsider the position of the Government. 
On May 4 he made a rather obscure statement in 



THE IBISH CHUBCH 107 

the House of Commons, which was understood to 
mean that he had offered the Queen the alternative 
of dissolving Parliament in the autunm or of accept- 
ing his resignation. Her Majesty had refused the 
resignation, but had given her assent to an autumn 
dissolution. Strong protests were made, especially by 
Mr. Bright, against bringing in the Queen's name and 
implying that she had expressed an opinion as between 
two policies suggested by her Minister. Gladstone 
also strenuously objected to holding a dissolution over 
the House as a menace, and threatening that if it 
voted against the Government again it would be forth- 
with dissolved. His remaining resolutions were adopted 
without a division, and, in reply to the third, her 
Majesty assented to placing her own patronage in the 
Irish Church at the disposal of Parliament. On May 
23, Gladstone moved the reading of the suspensory 
Bill, explaining that with disestablishment the May- 
nooth grant to the Catholics and the Begium donum 
to the Presbyterians would cease. The second reading 
was carried by a majority of fifty-four. But in the 
House of Lords, where Lord Carnarvon supported it, 
and Lord Salisbury, who had recently succeeded his 
father, opposed it, it was rejected by ninety-five. 

Parliament was prorogued on July 31, and dissolved 
on November 11, the registration having been acce- 
lerated by statute so as to enable the new electors to 



108 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

vote. The great question before the country was the 
disestablishment of the Irish Church, and the popular 
verdict, the first taken under household suffrage, was 
decisive, the Liberal majority being 115. Disraeli, 
making a new and sensible precedent, resigned without 
meeting the new Parliament, and, on December 4, 
Gladstone was summoned to Windsor. He had been 
defeated in South-west Lancashire by Mr. Cross, 
afterwards Lord Cross, but elected at the same time 
for Greenwich, By December 9 his Government was 
complete. The Cave had been broken up by the Con- 
servative Eeform Bill, and Mr. Lowe, who eagerly 
supported the disestablishment of the Irish Church, 
became Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Bright, 
who had refused the India Office, entered a Cabinet 
and a Government for the first time as President of 
the Board of Trade. Lord Bussell refused a seat i|i 
the Cabinet without office, and Sir George Grey de- 
clined to join the new Administration. Sir Eoundell 
Palmer refused the woolsack because he objected to 
the disendowment, though not to the disestablishment, 
of the Church in Ireland. The new Chancellor was Sir 
William Page Wood, now created Lord Hatherley. 
The Government was, on the whole, a remarkably 
strong on^, and Gladstone was especially fortunate in 
securing for the War Office the services of Mr. Card- 
wel}, afterwards Lord CardweU, whp was prob^ibly, 



THE IRISH CHURCH 109 

with the exception of Sir James Graham and himself, 
the ablest of all the administrators trained under Sir 
Eobert Peel. Gladstone's eldest son, William Henry, 
member for Whitby, and afterwards for East Worcester- 
shire, became a Jmiior Lord of the Treasmry. Mr. 
W. H. Gladstone died before his father, in 1891. 



110 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 



CHAPTEK XI 

PBIME MINISTER 

The life of a Prime Minister is the history of 
England, and the history of England cannot be told 
here. An attempt must be made to separate and 
distinguish those measures and acts of policy with 
which Gladstone, whether in office or in opposition, 
was directly and personally concerned. The chief 
business of the session of 1869, the Disestablishment 
of the Irish Church, was emphatically his own. 
Parliament met on February 16, and on March 1 
Gladstone introduced the Irish Church Bill in a 
speech which, by the admission of Mr. Disraeli, did 
not contain a superfluous word. The Bill provided 
for the immediate disendowment of the Church, and 
for its disestablishment as from January 1, 1871. 
The Church was hereafter to govern itself, and the 
governing body was to be incorporated. There was to 
be full compensation for vested interests, but the Irish 
bishops were to lose at once the few seats which they 
held by rotation in the House of Lords. The Church 
was to retain all private endowments bestowed since 



PEIME MINISTEB 111 

the year 1660. The Maynooth grant to Catholics 
and the Begium donum to Presbjrterians were to 
be commuted. The tenants of Church lands were to 
have the right of pre-emption. This clause, due to Mr. 
Bright and known by his name, was the origin of the 
many Land Purchase Acts which have since been passed 
for Ireland. The funds of the Church were not to be 
used for any ecclesiastical purpose, but for the relief 
of unavoidable calamity and suffering. This was 
the only part of the Bill which underwent any 
serious alteration in Parliament. The second reading 
was fixed for March 18, when Mr. Disraeli moved 
its rejection. It was carried by a majority of 118, and 
passed easily through Committee. On May 31 it was 
read a third time, by a majority of 114, and sent to the 
House of Lords. The Conservative majority of that 
House were divided in opinion. Lord Cairns, the 
titular leader, and a strong Irish Protestant, was for 
rejecting the Bill. But Lord Salisbury and Lord Car- 
narvon supported the second reading, on the ground 
that the question had been directly decided by the 
constituencies of the United Kingdom. After a long 
and eloquent debate — in which the best speeches, except, 
perhaps, the swan-song of Lord Derby, were made by 
Bishop Magee against the Bill, and by Bishop Thirl- 
wall in its favour — the second reading was carried by 
thirty-three votes. Great changes were, however, made 



112 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

in Committee ; with almost all of these the House of 
Commons, by large majorities, refused to agree. For 
some time there was serious danger that the Bill 
would be lost. But Lord Caitns, having done his best 
to defeat the Bill and failed, set himself with great 
ability to obtain the most favourable terms he could 
get from a Government too strong to be resisted. 
The Queen also, through Archbishop Tait, intervened 
on behalf of a peaceful settlement. The result, 
however, was that the Bill passed substantially as 
it left the Commons, with one most important 
exception. By an amendment, which Lord Cairns 
moved, and which the Government ultimately accepted, 
the funds of the Church were applied, not to the 
exclusive relief of suffering, but to such purposes as 
Parliament might direct. As a matter of fact, they 
have scarcely ever been employed in the relief of 
suffering at all ; but they have played a most valuable 
part in the development of Irish agriculture and 
industry. Thus altered, the Bill received the Eoyal 
Assent on July 26. 

In the autunm of this year Gladstone excited the 
bitter resentment of orthodox Churchmen, with whom 
he was himself in complete doctrinal agreement, by 
appointing Dr. Temple, Head Master of Eugby, Bishop 
of Exeter. Dr. Temple had contributed to the volume 
called * Essays and Eeviews,* which Convocation con- 



PRIME MINISTER 118 

demned as heretical, though the only two essays which 
were made the subject of proceedings in the Ecclesias- 
tical Courts had been pronounced by the Judicial 
Committee of the Privy Council to be harmless. The 
protests made against this appointment were exceed- 
ingly violent, and some members of the Chapter 
braved the penalties of praemunire by voting against 
the nominee of the Crown. But Gladstone's best 
justification is^ that neither in 1885, when he himself 
nominated Dr. Temple to the Bishopric of London, 
nor in 1896, when Lord Salisbury nominated him to 
the Archbishopric of Canterbury, was the faintest 
objection raised from any quarter whatever. Although 
Gladstone afterwards made Dr. Fraser Bishop of 
Manchester, and Dr. Bradley Dean of Westminster, 
he gave the High Church Party at least their share 
in the dignities and emoluments of the Church. In 
1869 appeared * Juventus Mundi,' prematurely called 
by Mr. Lowe * Senectus Gladstoni,' which partly 
summarised and partly developed Gladstone's larger 
treatise on Homer, published eleven years before. 

The session of 1870 was partially, as the session of 
1869 had been wholly, an Irish one. On February 15 
Gladstone introduced his first Irish Land Bill, a mild 
and moderate measure, founded on the report of the 
Devon Commission, which had been issued five and 
twenty years before. The Bill gave legal effect to the 

I 



114 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Ulster custom, in other words, to tenant-right in the 
northern counties of Ireland, and, under conditions, 
to other similar customs elsewhere. It gave the 
tenant compensation for disturbance, if he had been 
evicted for any other reason than not paying his rent. 
It also gave him compensation for improvements, and 
reversed in his favour the old presumption that they 
had been made by the landlord. It authorised the 
issue of loans from the Treasury for enabling the 
tenants to purchase their holdings, thus canying a step 
further the policy of the Bright clauses. The second 
reading was not seriously opposed, and only eleven 
members were found to vote against it. The Lords 
altered it a good deal in Conunittee ; but they aban- 
doned most of their amendments on report, and the Bill 
passed substantially as it was brought in. With the 
great Education Bill of this year, which established 
School Boards and compulsory attendance throughout 
the country, Gladstone had httle to do. He left it 
almost entirely to Mr. Forster, though he occasionally 
made concessions to the Church, which seriously 
offended Dissenters. He was, in truth, a Denomi- 
nationalist, and had no sympathy with the unsectarian 
teaching of religion given in Board Schools. 

The great event of 1870 was the war between 
Prussia and France. The British Government pre- 
served a strict neutrality. But when the Draft Treaty 



PRIME MINISTER 115 

between Count Bismarck and Monsieur Benedetti was 
published in the * Times,' on July 25, ten days after 
the outbreak of the war, Gladstone and Lord Granville, 
who had just succeeded Lord Clarendon as Foreign 
Secretary, entered into negotiations with both the 
belligerent powers for maintaining the independence of 
Belgium. The Draft Treaty, a scandalous document, 
communicated to the * Times ' by Bismarck himself, 
purported to assure France of Prussia's aid in the con- 
quest of Belgium, whose neutraUty had been under a 
joint European guarantee since 1839. On August 9 
and 11, respectively, Eussia and France both pledged 
themselves to England that this neutrality should be 
respected, as, in the result, it was. But the only step 
which the Government asked the House of Commons 
to take was an increase of the Army Estimates by two 
millions sterling and 20,000 men. Li October of this 
year Gladstone took what was for a Prime Minister 
the singular course of contributing to the * Edinburgh 
Eeview ' an article on England, France, and Germany. 
In it he freely criticised the conduct of both foreign 
Powers, defended his own Government, and con- 
gratulated the country on being divided from the 
complication of Continental politics by * the streak of 
silver sea which travellers so often and so justly 
execrate.' We know, on Gladstone's own authority, 
that this was the only article written by him which he 

I 2 



116 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

intended to be, in fact as well as in form, anonymous. 
But ajionymity is difficult for Prime Ministers. The 
authorship was disclosed by the * Daily News ' on 
November 5. 

The administrative history of this year is important. 
On August 31 all the public departments, except the 
Foreign Office and the Education Office, were opened 
to competition. At the same time the dual control of 
the War Office and the Horse Guards was abolished ; 
the Commajider-in-Chief being for the first time 
placed under the Secretary of State. Halfpenny post- 
cards were introduced, of which no one made more 
lavish use than the Prime Minister himself. Just 
before the end of the year Gladstone announced the 
release of all the Fenian prisoners in English gaols on 
the condition that they remained for the rest of their 
Uves outside the United Kingdom. The condition was 
severely criticised, and it may be doubted whether the 
discharged convicts would not have been less danger- 
ous to England in Ireland than they became in the 
United States. 

The year 1871 opened with the Black Sea Confer- 
ence, which met in London on January 17. It was 
called to consider the clause in the Treaty of Paris 
which provided for the neutrahsation of the Black Sea. 
This the Czar announced his intention of repudiating. 
Gladstone was accused of allowing Bussia to tear up 



PiaiME MINISTER 117 

the treaty, but, as a matter of fact. Lord Granville 
declined to recognise the right claimed by Eussia, and 
it was the Conference which put an end to a restric- 
tion which could not have been permanently enforced 
against a Great Power. 

The first and chief business of the session was the 
Army Eegulation Bill, which, among other things, 
abolished the purchase of commissions in the Army. 
The Bill was strenuously resisted by the military 
members of the House, and 'the Colonels,' as they 
were called, initiated the system of obstruction, which 
was afterwards more artistically developed by the Irish 
members. In the House of Lords the Bill was met by 
a dilatory motion demanding a more complete scheme 
of Army Beform. This, after a violent speech from 
Lord Salisbury, was carried by a majority of twenty-five. 
Two days afterwards Gladstone announced in the House 
of Commons, in reply to Sir George Grey, that purchase 
had been abolished by Eoyal Warrant, and would be 
illegal after November 1. Thus the only result of the 
Lords refusing to proceed with the Bill would be that 
officers could not get the compensation which it pro- 
vided. In these circumstances the Bill passed. The 
Lords consoled themselves with passing a vote of cen- 
sure on the Government, which had no effect at all. 
Some Eadicals, however, represented by Mr. Fawcett, 
denounced the use of the prerogative, even for pur- 



118 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

poses of which they approved; while so moderate a 
Liberal as Sir Boundell Palmer, not then a member of 
the Government, supported it as the only practicable 
course. As a matter of strict law, the Queen did not 
act on this occasion by virtue of her prerogative as the 
head of the Army, but under the powers of a statute 
passed in 1779. 

This year Gladstone succeeded in passing the 
University Tests Bill, which had long been before 
Parliament, and which opened the prizes of the 
Universities to men of all creeds. Speaking on the 
Women's Suffrage Bill of Mr. Jacob Bright, Gladstone 
made the rather surprising admission that he would 
not object to women voting if the ballot were intro- 
duced. To this isolated expression of opinion he never 
gave any practical efifect. On the other hand, he made 
a strong and uncompromising speech against Mr. 
Miall's motion for the disestablishment of the Church 
of England. 

In May of this year the Treaty of Washington 
between England and the United States was signed. 
The purport of it was to submit to arbitration the 
claims of the American Government for damages 
caused by the * Alabama ' and other cruisers fitted 
out at British ports during the Civil War. This 
Commission was appointed by Gladstone, who put 
at the head of it Earl de Grey, created, for his 



PEIMB MINISTER 119 

services, Marquis of Eipon; and included in it his 
political opponent, though personal friend, Sir Stafford 
Northcote. The Commissioners agreed upon three rules 
which practically concluded the case against England, 
so far as the * Alabama ' was concerned, and which had 
not previously been an undisputed part of international 
law. But the treaty, though open to technical 
criticism, was substantially just, and put an end to a 
very dangerous state of feeling between the two kindred 
nations. 

Gladstone and his Lord Chancellor, Lord Hatherley, 
incurred much unpopularity by the appointment, 
during the recess, of Sir Eobert Collier, afterwards 
Lord Monkswell, to the Judicial Committee of the 
Privy Council. It was not denied that Sir Eobert 
Collier, then Attorney-General, was a competent lawyer, 
and, as a matter of fact, he made an excellent judge. 
But the statute under which he was appointed provided 
that a paid member of the Judicial Committee must be 
or have been a judge of a superior court. Sir Eobert 
Collier was accordingly made a Judge of the Common 
Pleas for two days, that he might be technically 
qualified. Chief Justice Cockburn and Chief Justice 
BoviU vehemently protested against what they called 
an evasion of the law ; but Mr. Justice Willes, a lawyer 
of profound learning, maintained that nothing illegal 
or irregular was done. 



120 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

Soon after Parliament rose Gladstone delivered, 
at Aberdeen, a speech which was often used against 
him in future years. Beferring to the Irish demand 
for Home Eule, which then came from only a small 
section of the Irish people, he said that if given to 
Ireland it must be given also to Scotland, and asked 
if they were prepared to make themselves ridiculous 
by disintegrating the great capital institutions of the 
country. In October he met his constituents at 
Greenwich, who were dissatisfied partly with his 
neglect of their interests, and partly with the discharge 
by the Government of labourers from the dockyards. 
He spoke for two hours in the open air to an audience 
estimated at 20,000. At first there was so much noise 
and so much hostile demonstration that he could not 
be heard. But in a few minutes he put the inter- 
rupters to silence, and at the close of his speech he 
received a practically imanimous vote of confidence. 
Both physically and intellectually this was one of his 
greatest achievements. 

When Parliament met in 1872, Sir Bobert Collier's 
case was brought before both Houses, and votes of 
censure were moved. The motion was rejected in the 
House of Commons by twenty-seven, and in the 
House of Lords by two votes. Though the Lord 
Chancellor explained that two judges had refused the 



PRIME MINISTEtl 121 

pdst, and Sir Eoundell Palmer supported the Govern- 
ment, the result was damaging to the Ministry and 
especially to Gladstone himself. The bad effect was 
increased by his appointment of Mr. Harvey to the 
Bectory of Ewelme. The patronage of Ewelme was 
in the Crown, but it was a necessary qualification 
of the incumbent that he should be a member of 
Convocation at Oxford. Mr. Harvey was a graduate of 
Cambridge, and was admitted to the Oxford Convoca- 
tion for the purpose of enabling him to take the living. 
Gladstone argued in the House of Commons that he 
had no control over the University, and that he was 
not responsible for its admission of Mr. Harvey, whose 
politics were the reverse of his own. But the two 
transactions, taken together, produced the impression 
that the Prime Minister was too much inclined to evade 
the law. The chief measure of this session was the 
Ballot Bill, which the Lords had rejected the previous 
year, and which they now passed with an amendment 
limiting its operation to the year 1880. Since that 
date it has been annually.included without objection in 
the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. 

But the most important event of the year was the 
sitting of the Arbitrators at Geneva to detelinine the 
* Alabama ' Claims. This was the first international 
arbitration of seidous importance. Its value as a pre- 



122 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

cedent was inestimable, and it will always be associated 
with Gladstone's name. The President of this great 
court was Comit Sclopis, an Italian jurist. The 
British arbitrator was Chief Justice Cockbum, and the 
leading counsel for this country was Sir Boundell 
Palmer. A preliminary difl&culty almost proved 
fatal to the arbitration. The Cabinet of President 
Grant put forward extravagant proposals of compen- 
sation for incidents aUeged to arise out of privateering, 
which the British Government declined to recognise. 
For some days there was a serious deadlock. But at 
last the indirect claims, as they were called, were with- 
drawn at the voluntary suggestion of the arbitrators, and 
the case proceeded. The United States had demanded 
a sum exceeding nine millions sterling. The majority 
of the arbitrators awarded them three millions and a 
quarter, in respect of losses inflicted by the ' Alabama,' 
the * Florida,' and the ' Shenandoah.' Chief Justice 
Cockbum, in an elaborate judgment, dissented from 
this award, holding that England was liable for the 
' Alabama ' only. But he earnestly recommended that 
the decision of his colleagues should be accepted, and 
the money was paid. 

In the autumn of this year the Government received 
a great accession of strength by the appointment of 
Sir Eoundell Palmer to be Lord Chancellor, with the 
title of Lord Selbome, in the room of Lord Hatherley, 



PRIME MINISTER 123 

who retired on account of ill-health. Gladstone's 
principal utterance outside Parliament was a powerful 
and eloquent address to the students of Liverpool 
College, in which he combated the sceptical theories of 
the time as embodied in Dr. Strauss's recent volume, 
* The Old Faith and the New.' 



124 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 



CHAPTEE Xn 

THE CONSERVATIVE REACTION 

In 1873, Gladstone proceeded to deal with the third 
branch of the Irish Question, and on February 13, in 
an exhaustive speech of three hours, produced his Irish 
University Bill. The difficulty, which remains a 
difficulty still, was that the Irish Catholics, with few 
exceptions, refused to let their sons matriculate at the 
Protestant University of Dublin. The Bill proposed to 
meet their scruples by forming a new university, of which 
Trinity College should be the centre, but which would 
contain also other affiliated colleges. The expenses of 
this university would be defrayed by annual grants of 
12,000L from Trinity College and 10,000Z. from the 
ConsoUdated Fund. The first Council or governing 
body was to be appointed by Parliament, but vacancies 
in it were to be filled by the Crown. There were to be 
no religious tests, but, on the other hand, there were to 
be no Chairs of Theology, Philosophy, or Modern His- 
tory, and no compulsory examinations in these subjects. 
Some extraordinary provisions, which came to be known 
as * the gagging clauses,' imposed penalties upon any 



THE CONSERVATIVE REACTION 125 

teacher who offended the religious convictions of his 
pupils. The reception of the Bill, largely owing to the 
effect of Gladstone's eloquence, was favourable. But 
before the second reading, which was postponed for three 
weeks, serious obstacles arose. The Catholic Bishops of 
Ireland declared themselves dissatisfied with the measure ; 
while English Radicals, especially Mr. Fawcett, bitterly 
denounced the gagging clauses and the restrictions 
upon the teaching of philosophy and history. Although 
Gladstone defended the Bill with a force and ingenuity 
seldom surpassed, the second reading was rejected by 
three votes, and the Government at once resigned. 

The Queen sent for Mr. Disraeli, who, however, 
refused to take of&ce without a majority, and persisted 
in his refusal although the Queen gave him the option 
of dissolving Parliament. Gladstone contended that it 
was Disraeli's constitutional duty to accept oflSce after 
defeating the Government. Disraeli replied that there 
was no adequate cause for the resignation of the 
Government, and a controversial correspondence of 
much historical importance was carried on by the two 
statesmen, each of them addressing himself in form to 
the Queen. In the end Disraeli had his way, and Glad- 
stone resumed of&ce witji weakened credit. The Irish 
University question was settled for the time by (ihe 
passing of Mr. Fawcett's Bill abolishing religious tests 
in the University of Dublii;. On Mr. Trevelyan's 



126 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

annual motion for household suffrage in counties, 
Mr. Forster read a letter from the Prime Minister, who 
was prevented by illness from being present, pronounc- 
ing tor the first time in favour of that reform, which 
he carried out eleven years afterwards. During the 
autumn several changes were made in the Government. 
Lord Eipon retired on account of his health, and Mr. 
Bruce, who had not been successful at the Home 
Office, succeeded him as President of the Council, with 
the title of Lord Aberdare. Mr. Lowe, who had been 
unpopular ever since his abortive Match Tax, was 
transferred to the Home Office, ajid Gladstone himself 
took the Chancellorship of the Exchequer. 

His acceptance of this office raised a grave constitu- 
tional question, which was never finally decided. Before 
the Reform Act of 1867 the acceptance of any office 
of profit under the Crown vacated the seat of the ac- 
ceptor. By that Act it was provided that a Minister 
already holding such an office should not vacate his 
seat if he accepted another in lieu of it. It was clear, 
therefore, that Mr. Lowe did not vacate his seat on 
becoming Home Secretary instead of Chancellor of 
the Exchequer. But Gladstone took a new office 
without giving up an old one. He remained First 
Lord of the Treasury as well as Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, and eminent lawyers were of opinion that 
he had ceased to be member for Greenwich. He did 



THE CONSERVATIVE REACTION 127 

not, however, take that view himself, and did not seek 
re-election. The question would have been raised 
when Parliament met, and, according to Lord Sel- 
bome's 'Posthumous Memoirs,' it was one of the 
reasons for the sudden dissolution of January, 1874. 
On the 24th of that month the public were startled to 
find in the newspapers long address from Gladstone 
to his constituents, announcing that Parliament would 
be dissolved on the 26th. His ostensible reasons for 
this step were, first, that since Disraeli's refusal of 
office there was not the proper constitutional check of 
a possible alternative Government in that House of 
Commons ; and, secondly, that the by-elections did not 
show the confidence of the country in the Ministers of 
the Crown. Proceeding to deal with the Income Tax, 
he pointed out that Mr. Lowe had reduced it from 6d. 
to 3d.f and he calculated that, with a surplus of 
five millions and a half, he would be able to abolish 
it altogether. He also offered a grant in aid of local 
rates, which the House of Commons had, by a majority 
of 100, voted for against him, and some reduction of 
indirect taxes. These promises would have more 
than exhausted the surplus; but Gladstone believed 
that the balance would have been provided by greater 
economy in the public service. 

Disraeli at once replied to this manifesto in an 
address to the electors of Buckinghamshire. He 



128 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

taunted Gladstone with being afraid to de£end his 
conduct in retaining his seat, and sarcastically obaovad 
that any Chancellor of the Exchequer with a snzplus 
would employ it in remitting taxation. He afterwards 
declined to give a specific pledge that, if returned to 
power, he would give up the Income Tax. At this 
election, the first under the ballot, the ConservatiTe 
majority was estimated at fortyndx. But, as this 
calculation combined Irish Home Bulers with British 
Liberals, it underrated the ConservatiYe strength. 
(Gladstone retained his seat for Greenwich, but was 
elected as junior colleague to a gin-distiller. Follow- 
ing the precedent set by Mr. DisraeU in 1868, the 
Prime Minister resigned office without meeting Parlia- 
ment, and his rival succeeded him. 



129 



CHAPTEE XIII 

BEST, AND BE THANKFUL 

At the beginning of the session, on March 12, 
Gladstone wrote to Lord Granville, the leader of the 
Liberal Party in the House of Lords, intimating that he 
could not long remain at the head of the Opposition, 
that he wished for comparative repose, and that if the 
Party desired a chief who would attend more assiduously 
to the business of the House of Commons, he was quite 
ready to resign at once. He was, however, induced to 
defer his retirement for a time. During the session of 
1874 he opposed the Endowed Schools Bill, the Public 
Worship Bill, and the Bill for abolishing private 
patronage in the Church of Scotland. On this last 
measure he delivered an historical review, pointing out 
that the question was the one on which the Free Church 
had seceded in 1843, and arguing that the Bill would 
give a powerful impetus to disestablishment in Scot- 
land. The Bill easily passed; but he succeeded in 
defeating the more important part of the Endowed 
Schools Bill, which proposed to abolish the Endowed 
Schools Commission, and to restore to the Church of 

K 



130 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

England certain schools which had been placed under 
secular management. The work of the Endowed Schools 
Commissioners, whom Gladstone had appointed, and of 
whom Lord Lyttelton was the chief, was transferred 
to the Charity Commissioners, who had quite enough 
to do without it, and this part of the Bill passed. But 
Gladstone fought so strongly against the reactionary 
nature of the clauses clericalising schools, and made 
such a powerful plea for continuity in legislation, that 
Mr. Disraeli discovered his inability to understand the 
clauses, and they were dropped. 

But the Bill which interested Gladstone most was 
the Public Worship Bill. This was not a Goyemment 
measure. It was introduced into the House of Lords 
by Archbishop Tait, and severely criticised by Lord 
Salisbury, then Secretary of State for India. In the 
House of Commons the second reading was moved by 
Mr. Bussell Gumey, the Becorder of London. It was 
exceedingly popular on both sides of the House, and 
Disraeli warmly supported it, declaring that its object 
was ' to put down Bitualism.' Gladstone attacked the 
Bill in a long, eloquent, and elaborate speech, which 
may be described as the case against Erastianism. He 
pleaded for reasonable liberty within the Church, and 
he declared that, during his forty years of public life, 
Bitualism had had a different meaning in every one of 
them. He ended by giving notice of six resolutions. 



REST, AND BE THANKFUL 131 

Of these the most important was the last, which pro- 
nounced that the Government should consult repre- 
sentatives of the Church before introducing ecclesi- 
astical legislation. On this occasion Gladstone's party 
declined to follow him. The Bill was read a second 
time without a division, and the resolutions were 
never moved. The Bill, which became an Act before 
the end of the session, provided a new Ecclesiastical 
Court, in which three aggrieved parishioners might, 
with the consent of the bishop, prosecute a beneficed 
clergyman for irregularities of ritual. A conflict arose 
between the two Houses over an amendment which 
the House of Commons carried, and which gave the 
aggrieved parishioners an appeal from the Bishop of 
the Diocese to the Archbishop of the Province. This 
amendment the Lords rejected, after a violent attack 
on it by Lord Salisbury, and rather than lose the Bill 
the Commons gave way ; but the debate was a very 
heated one. Sir William Harcourt, always staunchly 
Erastian, disavowed the policy of his leader, and called 
upon Mr. Disraeli to vindicate the rights of the House. 
Gladstone replied to his former colleague in a master- 
piece of sarcastic irony, and Mr. Disraeli retorted upon 
Lord Salisbury in language seldom used to one 
member of the Cabinet by another. The Act cannot 
be said to have succeeded in its object. It was not, 
like the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, a dead letter from 

k2 



132 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

the first. Many Bitualistic clergymen were brought 
before Lord Penzance, the new ecclesiastical judge, and 
several of them were imprisoned for contumacy. But 
while, on the one hand, these proceedings led to a 
series of rather scandalous conflicts between the 
ecclesiastical and civil tribunals, it was felt, on the 
other hand, that the punishments inflicted were 
altogether inappropriate to the nature of the ofiiences 
proved. The Bishops gradually ceased to allow any 
further prosecutions, and the statute fell into complete 
disuse. 

During the Parliamentary recess, Gladstone pub- 
lished in the ' Contemporary Beview ' an essay on 
Bitualism, in which he surprised everyone by a 
trenchant attack on the Church of Bome. Conmient- 
ing upon the allegation that Bitualism led to Bomanism, 
he said that there had never been a time when the 
Boman Church presented less attraction to converts. 
She had, he declared, substituted for her proud boast 
of semper eadem a policy of violence and change in 
faith ; nor could any man now enter her conmiunion 
without placing his loyalty and civil allegiance at the 
mercy of another. This reference to the dogma of 
Papal Infallibility, which Pius IX. had proclaimed four 
years before, elicited numerous replies from English 
Catholics. Gladstone, dropping the subject of Bitualism 
altogether, issued a special pamphlet on the Vatican 



BEST, AND BE THANKFUL 133 

Decrees, in which he reiterated and supported his state- 
ments. To this pamphlet many answers were written, 
of which the most important were Dr. Newman's, 
Dr. Manning's, and Lord Acton's. But the champions 
of the Chm:ch of Bome did not agree amongst them- 
selves. Dr. Manning earnestly defended the dogma 
of Infallibility ; Dr. Newman reluctantly submitted to 
it, and Lord Acton repudiated it altogether. A schism 
among the English Catholics ensued, which divided 
even members of the same family, and some Old 
Catholics, as they called themselves, were excommu- 
nicated. In the course of the controversy several 
Catholic laymen took occasion to declare that they 
were as loyal subjects and as good patriots as any of 
their Protestant fellow-citizens. Gladstone, in another 
pamphlet, entitled 'Vaticanism,' expressed his satis- 
faction at these assurances, and his pleasure at having 
called them forth. With that the discussion closed ; 
but many Englishmen who were not Catholics held 
that the matter was one with which Protestants had 
no concern, and that a man who had been Prime 
Minister of England should abstain from attacking the 
Church to which so many of her Majesty's subjects 
belonged. 

During the autumn of this year Gladstone re- 
ceived at Hawarden a deputation of strikers from the 
Aston Hall Collieries, and gravely remonstrated with 



134 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

them for refusing to work with men who were not 
members of their trade union. His plea for individual 
freedom prevailed, and the unionists withdrew their 
demand that the non-unionists should be discharged. 

At the beginning of 1875, Gladstone, in another 
letter to Lord Granville, intimated that the time had 
now come when he must formally relinquish the 
leadership of the Liberal Party. His resignation was 
regretfully accepted, and Lord Hartington was chosen 
to succeed him. During the session of this year he 
was not much seen in the House of Commons. 

Mr. Disraeli correctly interpreted his recent victory 
as meaning that the country desired repose, and had 
no wish for large measures. Gladstone had exhausted 
the energies of the nation, and seemed for a time to 
have almost exhausted his own. The Government of 
1868 is, perhaps, the only one that has been turned out 
for doing too much. The one important contribution 
made by Gladstone to Parliamentary debate in 1875 
was his severe criticism of the new Sinking Fund 
proposed by Sir Stafford Northcote, afterwards Lord 
Iddesleigh, the Conservative Chancellor of the 
Exchequer. Sir Stafford showed courage as well as 
skill in defending himself against his old master, and 
this was the only financial discussion in which Glad- 
stone took part without scoring an easy triumph. 



135 



CHAPTEE XIV 

THE BASTEBN QUESTION 

In the year 1876 the Eastern Question assumed a 
new and very serious aspect. Parliament met on 
February 8, and the Andrassy Note, drawn up by Count 
Andrassy, the Austrian Chancellor, in consultation with 
the Chancellors of Russia and Germany, had just been 
presented to the Porte. It proposed that the in- 
habitants of the Herzegovina, who had risen in rebel- 
lion the previous July, and whom the Sultan was 
unable to subdue, should be granted reUgious liberty, 
and that the farming of their taxes should be abolished. 
The British Government, after some hesitation, acceded 
to the terms of the Note, and Gladstone, in the debate 
on the Address, expressed his approval of this course. 
He took occasion to point out, as a surviving member 
of Lord Aberdeen's Cabinet, which made the Crimean 
War, that that contest was waged on behalf of 
European and not merely of British interests. On 
February 19 there was a debate on the shares in the 
Suez Canal, which the Government had, on Novem- 
ber 26, 1875, bought from the Khedive of Egypt for 



136 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

fonr millions sterling. The money was borrowed from 
Messrs. Bothschild, who received 15 per cent, for the 
accommodation. Gladstone, while not blaming the 
Bothscbilds for taking what they could get, denounced 
this as an extravagant rate of interest where the secmity 
was perfect, and condemned the employment of a 
private firm for a public purpose. The case for the 
Government was that Ismail Pasha, being, as usual, 
in pecuniary difficulties, would have sold the shares to 
some other Power if England had not bought them. 
Gladstone called upon Ministers to say what hann 
would have been done if he had. But the purchase 
was popular, and the money was granted without a 
division. From a commercial point of view this 
speculation has been most profitable. Politically it is 
the origin of the British occupation in Egypt and the 
Soudan. On March 9, Gladstone spoke against the 
Royal Titles Bill, which conferred upon the Queen the 
title Empress of India. He argued that the designation 
was unsuitable to a British monarch, inasmuch as it was 
not hereditary, but elective, and implied absolute power. 
Before the end of the session there appeared in the 
* Daily News' a series of letters describing horrible 
massacres and tortures which had been inflicted upon 
the inhabitants of Bulgaria by their Turkish rulers. 
The Prime Minister, when questioned on the subject, 
jeered at these narratives as * Coffee-house Babble,' and, 



THE EASTBBN QUESTION 137 

in reference to the special charge that the Turks 
impaled their victims, cynicaUy observed that Oriental 
governors usually disposed of culprits in a more 
expeditious manner. Parliament rose on August 15, 
and a few days afterwards appeared the ofl&cial report 
of Mr. Baring, the British Consul, which entirely 
confirmed the correspondents of the ' Daily News.' 
Gladstone was deeply stirred by these revelations, and, 
on September 6, published a pamphlet called * Bulgarian 
Horrors and the Question of the East,' which had a 
rapid and general sale. In this he demanded that the 
ofl&cers of the Porte, from the lowest to the highest, 
should be cleared 'bag and baggage' out of the 
countries which they had desolated and destroyed. A 
few days afterwards, on the 9th, he addressed his 
constituents on Blackheath, and, after a tremendous 
denunciation of Turkey, declared it to be the duty of 
England to act with Eussid. in securing the indepen- 
dence of the Sultan's Christian provinces. * Never 
again,' he said, 'while the years roll their course,' 
must the conscience of mankind be shocked by the 
misrule of the Turk in Bulgaria. Disraeli, who had 
now become Lord Beaconsfield, replied to these argu- 
ments at Aylesbury, and again, on Lord Mayor's Day, 
at the Guildhall. At Aylesbury he said that the 
conduct of those who made political capital out of the 
Turkish atrocities was worse than the guilt of those 



138 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

who committed them. At the Guildhall he made a 
bitter attack upon Servia, who, assisted by her neigh- 
bour, Montenegro, had come to the rescue of their fellow- 
Christians, and had declared war on Turkey. The 
close of this speech was very warUke, and he used 
language which furnished the text of a once famous 
music-hall song. England, he declared, did not desire 
war, but no country was so well prepared for it, and 
her resources were such that she need not shrink 
from a second or even a third campaign. These 
two speeches of the Prime Minister excited great 
indignation among Liberals, and it was determined 
to hold a conference at St. James's Hall to protest 
against any further support of the Turkish Empire. 
The conference was held on December 8. But, on 
November 20, Lord Salisbury left England for Con- 
stantinople, to take part with Sir Henry Elliot, the 
British Ambassador, in a consultation with the repre- 
sentatives of the other Great Powers on the state of 
things in the Christian provinces of Turkey. Lord 
Salisbury was considered at that time far less Turkish 
in his sympathies than his chief, and the best hopes 
for the success of his mission were expressed in St. 
James's Hall. Clergymen and men of letters such as 
Dr. Liddon and Mr. Freeman attended this meeting, 
as well as practical politicians. The Duke of West- 
minster took the chair in the afternoon, and Lord 



THE EASTEEN QUESTION 139 

Shaftesbury in the evening. A letter was read from 
Mr. Carlyle eulogising Russia, and recommending that 
*the unspeakable Turk' should be struck out of the 
question. Gladstone spoke in the evening with careful 
moderation of tone, but emphatically asserted that 
the English people would be content with nothing 
less than the strict fulfilment of those duties to the 
Christian subjects of the Sultan which were the result 
of the Crimean War. 

In 1876 appeared Gladstone's third book on Homer, 
* Homeric Synchronism,' which is sufficiently described 
in its second title as * An Inquiry into the Time and 
Place of Homer in History.' 

The Conference at Constantinople lasted till January 
20, 1877, when it broke up without result, Turkey 
having refused to accept the demands of the Powers. 
Early in the year Gladstone entered upon an active 
political campaign. He attacked the Government, at 
Frome, for failing to discharge their obligations ; and, at 
Taunton, between two trains, he made the first of those 
wayside speeches which played afterwards so effective 
a part in English politics. At Taunton he dwelt on 
the failure of the Conference, and accused Turkey of 
having trodden the Treaty of Paris under her feet. 
Parliament met on February 8, and in the debate on 
the address, Gladstone, after compliments to Lord 
Salisbury on the line he had taken at Constantinople, 



140 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

pronounced the Eastern Question to be, without excep- 
tion, the most solenm which the House of Commons 
had ever had to discuss. On the 16th he drew 
attention to Lord Derby's despatch condemning the 
Bulgarian massacres, and asked what course the 
Government intended to adopt. The unexpected mild- 
ness of his speech led to a curious Parliamentary 
incident. After Mr. Gathome Hardy had replied in a 
guarded manner to Gladstone's question, and the debate 
had proceeded for some time in a rather humdrum 
fashion, Mr. Chaplin suddenly interposed with a per- 
sonal attack upon Mr. Gladstone, accusing him of 
making charges against his opponents behind their backs 
which he was afraid to repeat in the House of Commons. 
To give Gladstone an opportunity of replying, Mr. 
Chaplin moved the adjournment of the House. Glad- 
stone at once rose to second the motion, and, in doing 
so, delivered off-hand one of the most amusing as well 
as one of the most effective replies ever heard in the 
House of Commons. He overwhelmed Mr. Chaplin 
with ironic sarcasm and good-humoured banter, dis- 
posing, incidentally, of Lord George Hamilton, who had 
rashly ventured to interrupt him. The columns of 
* Hansard ' contain no more diverting or more readable 
speech. But at the end he took a serious tone, declar- 
ing that England was responsible for the power which 
Turkey had abused, and that Englishmen were resolved 



THE EASTERN QUESTION ' 141 

that justice should be done. The debate was finally 
adjourned, and never resumed. 

The real struggle came nearly three months later. 
The reason for Gladstone's unexpected mildness in Par- 
liament was that the Liberal Party were not agreed, and 
especially that their titular leader. Lord Hartington, did 
not go so far as Gladstone in zeal for the Christians of 
the East. Meanwhile the Eastern Question was being 
settled by sterner methods than Parliamentary debates. 
On April 24, Bussia declared waj against Turkey, being, 
as she said, resolved to do single-handed what Europe 
would not do collectively. Gladstone gave notice that, on 
May 7, he would move four resolutions, defining his 
Eastern policy, and a fifth combining them all in an 
address to the Crown. The first of these resolutions was 
a censure of Turkey for not fulfilling her obligations. 
The second declared that she was entitled to neither 
moral nor material support from England. The third 
laid down the principle that the Christian subjects of 
the Porte were entitled to local liberty and practical self- 
government. The fourth defined the concert of Europe 
as the proper method forcarrjdng these proposals into 
effect. These resolutions were too strong for the mode- 
rate Liberals, and Sir John Lubbock, afterwards Lord 
Avebury, gave notice on their behalf that he would move 
the previous question, which it was understood that Lord 
Hartington would support. But before the debate came 



142 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

on an arrangement was made. Gladstone agreed to move 
only the first of his resolutions, for which the whole 
Liberal Party were ready, with a slight verbal amend- 
ment, to vote. In bringing forward this motion, how- 
ever, which he did in one of his greatest rhetorical 
efforts, Gladstone contrived to argue on behalf of his 
whole policy. He spoke under most difiBcult conditions. 
The Ministerialists, taking advantage of the oppor- 
tunity which his change of purpose afforded them, got 
up a preliminary wrangle in which they taunted him 
with his vacillation, and succeeded in putting off the 
beginning of his speech to the time at which it would 
naturally have ended. But Gladstone rose at seven 
o'clock as fresh as if he had risen at five, and there was 
no trace, either in his arguments or in his delivery, of 
physical or mental exhaustion. He pointed out that 
though the Treaty of Paris was still valid between the 
other Powers, Turkey, by breaking it, had forfeited 
all right to its protection. It could give her, he said, 
no right to oppress her subjects, whereas it did give her 
subjects the right of appeal from her oppression. The 
knell of Turkish tyranny, he exclaimed, had sounded, 
and any attempt on the part of this country to assist 
Turkey in the future would not only be immoral but 
impolitic, and would be playing into the hands of 
Eussia, whom his opponents most distrusted. The 
debate, thus begun, lasted till May 14, when Gladstone 



THE EASTEEN QUESTION 143 

rose at midnight to reply. Less rhetorical than his 
opening statement, this speech was a model of com- 
pression, and summed up the arguments on his side 
with singular power. He contrasted the tone of 
Lord Derby, who had done all that words could do in 
bringing Turkey to her senses, with the tone . of 
Sir Henry Elliot, who had cynically observed that 
British interests were not affected by the number of 
Christians massacred in Bulgaria. Denying that he 
was or ever had been in favour of joining Eussia to 
make war upon Turkey, he declared himself for the 
coercion of the Porte by united Europe, and it was the 
British Government, he added, which had stood in the 
way of European unity. His motion was, however, 
rejected by a majority of 131, which was very much 
in excess of what the Government could ordinarily 
anticipate. 

Out of doors his popularity ran very high, and soon 
after Parliament rose there occurred a remarkable 
example of the hero-worship with which his name 
became afterwards associated. Early in August he 
received at Hawarden a deputation of Liberals from 
Bolton. He refused to address them on pohtics, or to 
interrupt his occupation for the afternoon, which was 
his favourite amusement of cutting down a tree; but 
he admitted them to the Park, and while he was thus 
occupied they gathered round him to pick up the chips 



144 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

which fell from his axe. In October of this year 
Gladstone paid one of his rare visits to Ireland, where 
he was presented with the freedom of Dublin, and 
delivered a speech on the successful working of the 
Irish Land Act. In Ireland he said nothing about 
Eastern affairs ; but he dealt with them at Holyhead 
on his way back, and paid an eloquent tribute to the 
Nonconformist Churches of the land for the help which 
they had given him in his efforts for the Christians of 
Bulgaria. On November 15 he was chosen to be Lord 
Bector of Glasgow in succession to Lord Beaconsfield, 
his competitor being Sir Stafford Northcote. 

Meanwhile the war had proceeded rapidly. At 
first the Turkish troops, who fought splendidly, gained 
some victories. But the superior numbers of the 
Eussians, guided by the strategy of General Todleben, 
soon prevailed; and by the beginning of 1878 Turkey 
was at the feet of Bussia. Parliament was summoned 
for January 17, an unusually early date, and the Queen's 
Speech announced that Turkey had asked for the media- 
tion of the Queen's Government, which her Majesty was 
not indisposed to offer. The debate on the Address was 
tame ; but great excitement was caused on January 25, 
when Lord Carnarvon announced his resignation in 
the House of Lords. The reasons for this step were 
two. In the first place. Lord Beaconsfield had severely 
condemned Lord Carnarvon's announcement to a de- 



THE EASTERN QUESTION 145 

putation that no Englishman would be mad enough to 
repeat the blunder of the Crimean War. In the second 
place, the Government had ordered the Mediterranean 
fleet to Constantinople with the ostensible object of 
protecting British subjects. The fleet did not, as a 
matter of fact, pass the Dardanelles, having been ordered, 
amid some ridicule, to return. But Lord Carnarvon's 
retirement, in which he persisted, was regarded as 
ominous by the party of peace, and their apprehensions 
were renewed when, on January 28, it was announced 
that the Government would ask the House of Commons 
for a vote of credit to the amount of 6,000,000/. It 
was arranged that this vote should be taken on the 31st, 
and, on the 30th, Gladstone attended at Oxford, which 
he had not visited since his rejection by the University, 
the foundation of the Palmerston Club. Speaking at 
the inaugural dinner, he condemned in very strong lan- 
guage the despatch of the fleet to the Dardanelles, 
and, referring to the charge of being an agitator, 
admitted that circumstances had driven him into a 
course of agitation for the last eighteen months. He 
confessed that during that period he had laboured day 
and night to * counter-work the purposes of Lord 
Beaconsfield.' 

On the next evening the vote of credit was to have 
been moved in the House of Commons by Sir Stafford 
Northcote ; but, before the Speaker left the chair, Mr. 

I4 



146 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Forster moved a preliminaiy amendment, declaring 
that, as neither combatant had infringed the principles 
of neutrality, there was no ground for taking steps 
which implied a possible extension of the war. The 
debate lasted till February 7, and Gladstone spoke on 
the 4th, denouncing 'prestige,' in almost the same 
language used by Lord SaUsbury eleven years before, 
as a hateful sham. He made also a powerful plea for 
the right of Turkey's Hellenic provinces to the sym- 
pathy and protection of Europe. Alluding to the pro- 
posal of a European Conference, he protested against 
accompanying pacific negotiations with the clash of 
arms. On February 7 it was announced, on the authority 
of Mr. Layard, who had succeeded Sir Henry EUiot 
as British Ambassador at (Constantinople, and who 
was even more Turkish in his leanings than Sir Henry, 
that the reported armistice between the two Powers 
had not been signed, and that the Russian Army was 
close to Constantinople. Mr. Forster thereupon asked 
leave to withdraw his amendment, and though, later in 
the evening, Sir StafiFord Northcote read a telegram from 
Prince Gortschakoff absolutely denying Mr. Iiayard's 
assertion, it was not moved. 

On March 3, the Treaty of San Steboio, between 
Kossia and Turkey, brought the war to an end, 
without any occupation of Constantinople, though 
the British fleet had entered the Daidanell^. This 



THE EASTEEN QUESTION 147 

treaty recognised the independence of Servia and 
Bulgaria. But the British Government insisted upon 
its revision, under the Treaty of Paris, by a Conference 
of the Powers, and to this course Bussia ultimately 
consented. The conduct of Mr. Layard, whose 
alarming reports had proved to be unfounded, was 
brought before the House of Commons on March 12 
by Mr. Evelyn Ashley, who moved a vote of censure on 
him for having taken up a charge, made by a corre- 
spondent of the * Daily Telegraph,' that Gladstone had 
been trying to stir up rebellion among the Sultan's Greek 
subjects. The charge was admitted on all hands to be 
unfounded. But Mr. Layard was proved to have made 
a sort of apology, and the motion was rejected by a 
majority of seventy-four, Gladstone taking no part in 
the debate. On March 28, Lord Derby resigned office 
without stating his reasons, which proved afterwards to 
have been the decision of the Government to call out 
the reserves and to occupy Cyprus. He was succeeded 
at the Foreign Office by Lord Salisbury, who, on April 1, 
criticised, in a long and able despatch, the terms which 
Bussia sought to impose on Turkey. The expediency 
of calling out the reserves, which could only be done in 
time of national emergency, was discussed in the 
House of Commons on April 8, when Gladstone com- 
mented strongly upon Lord Salisbury's despatch, which 
he described as substituting England for Europe. At 

L 2 



148 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

this time his unpopularity in London, and especially in 
the House of Commons, was extreme. His honse in 
Harley Street was attacked by a mob of the people then 
first called Jingoes, and he himself, with Mrs. Gladstone, 
was hustled in the streets. 

On April 12 there was an unprecedented scene at 
the House. In a debate upon the murder of Lord 
Leitrim, an Irish member, Mr. O'Donnell, made 
aspersions upon Lord Leitrim's moral character, in 
order, as he said, to show that the murder was not 
agrarian. An Irish Conservative moved that strangers 
should be excluded, and by a majority they were. 
Gladstone, Lowe, and Hartington were hooted in the 
Lobby, as they went out to vote against the ex- 
clusion, an insult of which Lord Hartington bitterly 
complained. On April- 16 the House of Commons 
adjourned for a long Easter recess, after a positive 
assurance from Sir Stafford Northcote that the 
Government contemplated no immediate change of 
policy. On the 17th it was announced that 7,000 
Indian troops had been ordered to Malta. When 
Parliament reassembled, the Liberal leaders, including 
Gladstone, argued that this step was unconstitutional, 
and inconsistent with the Mutiny Act, which deter- 
mined the number of the standing Army. But the 
Government were supported by large niajorities in both 
Houses. 



THE EASTEKN QUESTION 149 

On June 13 the European Congress met at Berlin, 
under the presidency of Prince Bismarck, the British 
representatives being Lord Beaconsfield, Lord Salisbury, 
and Lord Odo Eussell, afterwards Lord Ampthill. 
While the Congress was sitting the * Globe ' published a 
copy of an agreement between England and Eussia, 
defining, among other things, the limits within which 
independence should be given to part of Bulgaria. 
This document, though surreptitiously obtained, was 
strictly accurate. The treaty signed on May 30 was 
intended to be secret, but the understanding which it 
proved to exist between England and Eussia strength- 
ened the case of those who had urged that there was no 
ground for warlike preparations before the Congress. 
A further agreement between England and Turkey 
furnished the text for a vigorous speech which Glad- 
stone delivered at Bermondsey on July 20. This 
convention provided that, in return for the cession 
of Cyprus, and the usual promises of reform, England 
should protect the remaining territories of Turkey in 
Asia. Gladstone called it *an insane covenant,' and 
protested that none of the Conservative statesmen 
with whom he had acted in past years would have 
dreamed of assenting to it. On July 23 he pro- 
posed, without success, in the House of Conmions, 
that proceedings imder the Vernacular Press Act, by 
which Lord Lytton had established a censorship of 



150 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

the Native Press in India, should be laid before Parlia- 
ment. 

On July 30 the Treaty of Berlin was brought before 
the House by Lord Hartington, who moved a resolu- 
tion, sarcastically described by Lord Beaconsfield as ' a 
series of congratulatory regrets.' Lord Hartington 
asked the House to condemn the failure of the 
Congress to satisfy the just claims of Greece, and to 
censure the Government for having incurred a Uability 
to defend the Asiatic dominions of the Sultan. To the 
debate thus raised Gladstone contributed an elaborate 
and argumentative speech, unusually devoid of rhetoric, 
and devoted to an exhaustive analysis of what the 
treaty did and failed to do. None of his Parlia- 
mentary speeches delivered in Opposition show signs 
of having been more carefully prepared, and it is 
one of the very few which he revised before it appeared 
in 'Hansard.' He began with a reference to the 
personal attack made upon him a few nights before by 
Lord Beaconsfield at a dinner in the Knightsbridge 
Biding School. Lord Beaconsfield had then charged 
Gladstone with indulgence in very gross personalities, 
and in particular with having described him as a danger- 
ous and even devilish character. Gladstone at once 
wrote a letter, beginning ' Dear Lord Beaconsfield,' in 
which he asked for a specification of the time and 
place in which he had used such language, or any other 



THE EASTERN QUESTION 151 

of a personal as distinguished from a political kind. 
Lord Beaconsfield replied in the third person that he 
was * much pressed with affairs ' and unable to 
examine the speeches of two years. But he cited 
an instance in which someone, not Gladstone, had 
compared him, in Gladstone's presence, with Mephis- 
topheles. This was all the satisfaction that Gladstone 
ever received. Passing from this repulsive subject, as 
he called it, Gladstone proceeded to deal with the 
Treaty, which he said had been described by its admirers 
as concentrating the Turkish Empire. Pointing out 
that more than half of the Sultan's subjects had been 
wholly or partially removed from his jurisdiction, he 
observed that this sort of concentration might be 
obtained in the case of a man by cutting off his limbs. 
Half Bulgaria was free, though, unfortunately, not the 
whole. Eoumania and Servia were now nominally as 
well as practically independent. The independence of 
Montenegro was formally recognised. But nothing 
had been done for Greece except that a possible 
rectification of frontier was left over for future settle- 
ment. Thus the Slavs, who relied upon Russia, had 
got most, if not all, of what they wanted ; whereas the 
Greeks, who had never been Bussian in sympathy, had 
got nothing. What a lesson, he observed, for the 
enemies of Eussia to teach the South-east of Europe ! 
He severely criticised the conduct of Lord Beaconsfield 



152 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

and Lord Salisbury for having actively opposed at the 
Cohgress the claims of Greece, which had been urged 
especially by the representatives of France. At the 
close of his speech he turned from the Treaty to the 
Anglo-Turkish Convention, which he described as not 
only impolitic but a breach of public law, inasmuch 
as it seriously modified the Treaty of Paris with- 
out the consent of the other Powers. Finally, he 
attacked the Government for abusing the prerogative 
of the Crown to make treaties without the consent of 
Parliament. The Treaty of Berlin, he said, not 
having been ratified, was open to Parhamentary 
disapproval. But the Treaty of BerUn was good so far 
as it went, and no one desired to disavow it. The 
separate engagements between England and Turkey, 
which he and the Opposition regarded as wholly bad, 
had been ratified, and were therefore beyond the power 
of ParUament altogether. Lord Hartington's motion 
was, however, after a long debate, defeated by a 
majority of 143. 

Li the autumn of this year Lord Lytton, the 
Viceroy of India, made war upon Shere Ali, the Ameer 
of Afghanistan. The ground of hostilities was the 
refusal of the Ameer, who had received a Bussian 
envoy, to receive an Enghsh one. The English envoy, 
escorted by a small army, started from Peshawur on 
September 21, but was stopped on the frontier by an 



THE EASTERN QUESTION 153 

Afghan force. On November 20> Afghanistan was in- 
vaded, and after severe fighting Cabul was occupied. 
On November 30, Gladstone, who had determined not 
to contest Greenwich again, delivered to his consti- 
tuents a farewell address at Plumstead. The greater 
part of this speech was an indictment of Lord Lj^ton's 
policy, approved and adopted by the Cabinet. He 
argued that it was a breach of faith to force a British, 
as distinguished from a native, Eesident (to whom Shere 
Ali had no objection) upon the Ameer. He denied that 
Shere Ali had given any just cause of offence, and 
maintained that if this country had grounds of com- 
plaint it was not against Afghanistan, but against 
Eussia, who had undertaken not to interfere in that 
country. Thus the Government spared the strong 
State, which was to blame, and crushed the weak State, 
which was not. In a peroration of singular eloquence, 
he quoted the famous words of Lady Macbeth : * All 
the perfumes of Arabia cannot sweeten this little hand,' 
end added, in reference to the physician's famihar 
answer : * In this the patient must minister to himself,' 
that the disease of an evil conscience was beyond the 
skill of all the physicians in aU the countries of the 
world. The outbreak of war made it necessary to 
call Parliament together in the winter, and both Houses 
met on December 5. An amendment to the Address, 
condemning the Afghan policy of the Government, was 



154 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

moved by Mr. Whitbread on the 9th, and on the 10th 
Gladstone spoke. He quoted freely from the Bine 
Books presented by the Government, to show that the 
Ameer had not, as was said, insulted either the British 
envoy or the Lidian Government. Li a subsequent 
debate he also protested against saddling the expenses 
of the war upon the taxpayers of India. But the 
Government were quite unassailable in the House of 
Commons, and then: majorities suffered no appreciable 
diminution. 



155 



CHAPTEE XV 

THE MIDLOTHIAN CAMPAIGN, AND ITS RESULTS 

The session of 1879, though it witnessed the rise 
of Mr. Pamell as a political force, was comparatively 
flat and tame. A General Election was thought to 
be imminent, and statesmen on both sides were 
more anxious to address the constituencies than the 
House of Commons. None of Gladstone's speeches in 
the House this year were of great importance. On 
April 17 he spoke in favour of Mr. Cartwright's 
motion calling upon the Government to satisfy the 
claims of Greece, and pointed out that she had a clear 
right to rely upon the expectations held out to her by 
Lord Salisbury. On April 28, speaking to a motion 
proposed by Mr. Eylands against the extravagance of 
the Estimates, he maintained that Sir Stafford North- 
cote, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, had departed, by 
unnecessary borrowing, from the sound principles of 
finance, had destroyed his own Sinking Fund, and had 
failed in time of peace to pay for expenditure out of 
revenue. On July 15 he seconded Lord Hartington's 
efforts to procure the abolition of flogging in the Army. 



156 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Bat it is only fair to say that this reform, adopted 
by Gladstone and Hartington in 1881, was brought 
within the range of practical politics by the persistent 
efforts of some Irish members, among whom Mr. 
Pamell was the most conspicuous. On July 22, the 
unfulfilled portions of the Treaty of Berlin were again 
brought before the House, this time by Sir Charles 
Dilke. Gladstone, in supporting him, claimed for 
Greece the moral right to Epirus, Thessaly, and Crete. 
Deahng with the scare of Panslavism as a danger to 
the east of Europe, he prescribed Pan-HeUenism as 
the best remedy for the disease. 

But Gladstone's chief efforts in 1879 were made 
outside the walls of ParUament. At the request of 
Lord Bosebery and other influential Liberals, he agreed 
to contest the county of Midlothian against Lord 
Dalkeith, the eldest son of the Duke of Buccleuch. 
He at once entered upon a political campaign, which 
for vigour and energy was never surpassed even 
by himself. He left Liverpool on November 24, 
and from that date till December 9, when he re- 
turned to Hawarden, there was scarcely a lawful day 
on which he did not deliver at least one speech; 
more often it was two or three. Before he crossed the 
Border he had spoken at several railway stations, and 
on November 25 he addressed a crowded meeting in 
the Music Hall at Edinburgh. Here he dwelt upon the 



THE MIDLOTHIAN CAMPAIGN 157 

danger of enlarging our responsibiUties. and proclaimed 
that the real strength of the Empire must always lie 
in the population of the United Kingdom. He again 
condemned the Afghan War, which by this time had 
led to the murder of Sir Louis Cavagnari, the British 
Eesident at Cabul. He denounced, also, the Zulu 
War, made by Sir Bartle Frere, the High Com- 
missioner for South Africa, against the instruc- 
tions of the Government, who censured, but did 
not recall him. Criticising the annexation of the 
Transvaal, which had occurred in 1877, he contended 
that the people of Great Britain had been misled into 
supposing that the Boers wished to become British 
subjects. Since the annexation two-thirds of the 
burghers had signed a petition against it, and thus 
proved it to be, in his view, unjustifiable. At Dalkeith, 
on the 26th, he spoke chiefly on home affairs, express- 
ing his belief in the principle of local option, and in a 
general extension of local government, so far as was 
compatible with the supremacy of Parliament. Dis- 
establishment, he said, was a question for the people of 
Scotland themselves ; he had no wish either to advance 
or to retard it. At West Calder, on the 27th, he 
returned to the subject of foreign politics, maintaining 
that the Government had at the same time aggrandised 
and alienated Eussia. His reception in Scotland was 
more enthusiastic than had ever before been given to 



158 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

any statesman, and on one occasion he addressed as 
many as 20,000 people within the walls of the Waverley 
Market at Edinburgh. His campaign ended for the 
year at Glasgow, where, in an elaborate oration, he 
surveyed the whole foreign policy of the Government. 
The responsibility for that policy, he said, rested at 
present upon the Cabinet and the House of Commons 
alone ; but the question must very soon be submitted 
to the people, who would have to deal with the 
Ministerial majority, not collectively, but individually. 
Laying particular stress upon the fundamental prin- 
ciple that large and small States should be treated with 
equal justice and forbearance, he protested strongly 
against the aggressive Imperialism of the Prime 
Minister, of which the motto was borrowed from a 
Eoman statesman. The words Imperium et lihertas — 
Empire and liberty — meant, in the mouth of a Eoman, 
liberty for himself and empire over the rest of mankind. 
That pretension in the mouth of an Englishman he 
emphatically condemned ; and he called upon the people 
of the United Kingdom to dissociate themselves from a 
policy which had led to nothing but humihation and 
disaster. At Glasgow he also delivered his address as 
Lord Kector of the University, and turning aside from 
politics, as no one could more readily do, he impressed 
upon the students the superiority of knowledge to 
wealth as an object of human endeavour. 



THE MIDLOTHIAN CAMPAIGN 159 

Parliament met on February 5, 1880, and there was 
nothing in the Queen's Speech to show that the session 
would be shorter than usual. But, as a matter of fact, 
only one subject of any importance was raised in it. 
On March 5, Sir Wilfrid Lawson brought forward his 
annual resolution in favour of Local Option, and 
Gladstone took part in the debate. While declaring in 
favour of the principle, he refused to vote for the 
motion on the ground that no practical plan had been 
proposed, and that there was no reference to the 
vested interests which would be disturbed. Three days 
afterwards, on March 8, it was announced in both 
Houses that Parliament would be dissolved immediately 
after the Budget. Lord Beaconsfield, having no con- 
stituents, addressed to the Duke of Marlborough, then 
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, a public letter, in which 
he said that a danger more serious than pestilence or 
famine threatened the Irish nation, through the devices 
of men who were bent at all costs upon repealing the 
Union. Although the style of this letter was justly 
criticised, and its exaggerations reasonably censured, it 
must be admitted that Lord Beaconsfield, perhaps 
because he was in office, showed more knowledge of 
Irish poUtics than his rival. On the 12th appeared 
Gladstone's address to the electors of Midlothian, in 
which he cast ridicule upon the Prime Minister's 
gloomy prophecies, and accused him of seeking to hide 



160 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

the misdeeds of his Ministry by 'terrifying insinua- 
tions.' On the same day Gladstone spoke in Marylebone, 
and expressed a hope that, whatever the result of the 
General Election might be, it would be unmistakable. 
He also took the opportunity of announcing that liord 
Derby had formally joined the Liberal Party. 

On the 16th he left London for Edinburgh, addressing 
a crowd that had assembled at King's Cross, and speaking 
at every station where the train stopped. It was after- 
wards found that in each of these places there had 
been a Liberal victory. On the 17th he delivered one of 
his finest speeches in the Edinburgh Music Hall. This 
speech contains the clearest and fullest exposition of 
foreign policy in its general principles which Gladstone 
ever put forward. He dealt first with the allegation 
that if he and his party came into power they would 
repudiate the engagements of their predecessors. He 
pointed out that this was impossible, inasmuch as an 
international treaty bound future Governments as much 
as the Government which made it. He separated him- 
self and the Liberal Party in general from the doctrines 
of the Manchester School and of peace at any price. 
Paying a high tribute to the Manchester School for 
their lofty aspirations and unselfish motives, he never- 
theless declared it to be a ' noble error ' that the world 
could at present be governed without the risk of war. 
Examining the policy of Lord Beaconsfield, particularly 



THE MIDLOTHIAN CAMPAIGN 161 

as embodied in the Treaty of Berlin, compared with 
the Treaty of San Stefano, he showed that Eessarabia 
had been handed over to Bussian despotism, and 
Macedonia to the worse than despotism of the Turk. 
Kecailing the ridicule which had been cast upon his 
prescription of ' bag and baggage,' he proved that it 
had been strictly carried out. not only in Bulgaria, but 
in Eastern Koumelia, from which the official Turks had 
entirely disappeared. 

One aUusion in this speech led to rather serious 
consequences. Quoting from the * Standard ' the 
report of a conversation between the Emperor of 
Austria and Sir Henry Elliot, the British Ambassador 
at Vienna, in which the Emperor was made to 
denounce him by name as an enemy of the Austro- 
Hungarian monarchy, Gladstone denied that he was 
the enemy of any country. But he censured in 
strong language Austria's hostility to the freedom of 
her neighbours, and defied any one to put his finger 
upon any part of the map of Europe and say, * There 
Austria did good.' On March 22, speaking at Gilmer- 
ton, in Midlothian, Gladstone dealt with Lord Salisbury's 
charge against him that he had disestablished the Irish 
Church three years after declaring the question to be 
outside the range of practical politics. Admitting the 
fact, he said that the phrase meant within the lifetime 
of the Parliament elected in 1866, and was therefore 

M 



162 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

accurate. But he went on to employ a simile which 
became the subject of much not unnatural criticism. 
The Established Church in Ireland, he said, had long 
been a grievance. But the attention of the English 
people was forcibly called to it by the Fenian outrages 
in Manchester and Clerkenwell. They were not the 
cause of disestablishment, still less its justification. 
The sound of a church bell was not the reason why a 
man went to church, but it reminded him that it was 
time to go. On the 23rd, speaking at Pathhead, he 
recurred to the subject of Austria, expressed a fear 
that she might intend to enlarge her borders at 
the expense of the Balkan Principalities, and invited 
her to disclaim all aggressive designs. On the 25thy at 
Penicuik, he referred to a contradiction by Sir Henry 
Elliot of the language attributed to the Emperor, and 
once more challenged the Austrian Government to 
disclaim any intention of going beyond the Treaty 
of Berlin. At Stow, on the 30th, he discussed the 
financial arrangements of the Government, and, with 
special reference to the Afghan War, observed : ' We do 
not know the worst.' This remark was destined to 
receive a singular and startling verification ; for, on 
May 6, the public learnt, by a telegram from India, that 
Sir John Strachey, the Finance Minister, had made an 
extraordinary blunder, and that the war would cost, not 
6,000,000^. but 15,000,000Z. 



THE MIDLOTHIAN CAMPAIGN 163 

At this election Gladstone made fifteen set speeches, 
without counting occasional addresses. Lord Harting- 
ton, however, made twenty-four. The pollings began on 
March 31, and, after the first day, the final result was 
never for a moment doubtful. The Liberals swept the 
country ; 349 of them were returned, as against 243 
Conservatives and 60 Home Kulers. Gladstone himself 
was successful in Midlothian, polling 1,579 votes against 
1,368 given for Lord Dalkeith. He was at the same time 
placed at the head of the poll for Leeds, where, after he 
had elected to sit for Midlothian, he was succeeded by 
his youngest son. At this time the Queen was abroad, 
and there was consequently some delay in the change 
of Government. Lord Beaconsfield, however, took the 
earliest opportunity of resigning, and on April 22 her 
Majesty sent for Lord Hartington. This was in strict 
accordance with constitutional usage, as Gladstone had 
retired from the Liberal leadership five years before. 
Lord Hartington did not at once decline to form a 
Government, but, after an interview with Gladstone 
on the 22nd, when he returned from Windsor, he 
abandoned the idea. On the 23rd he and Lord Gran- 
ville saw the Queen together, with the result that her 
Majesty sent for Gladstone the same afternoon. He at 
once formed, without the slightest difficulty, a strong 
Administration, becoming himself, as he had been in 
1873, First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the 

M 2 



164 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

Exchequer. Lord Granville, and Lord Hartington, 
whose conduct was irreproachable, both took office 
under him, the former as Foreign Secretary and the 
latter as Secretary for Lidia. In other respects the 
Government much resembled that of 1868. liord 
Selbome returned to the woolsack, and Mr. Bright, 
to whom official work was never congenial, became 
Chancellor of the Duchy. Lord Gardwell's health had 
failed, and Mr. Lowe was extinguished under a coronet 
with the title of Lord Sherbrooke. Sir William Har- 
court, who had been for a short time Solicitor-General, 
became Home Secretary ; while Mr. Chamberlain, whose 
political association, commonly called the Birmingham 
Caucus, had been of great practical value to the Liberal 
Party, entered a Government and a Cabinet for the first 
time as President of the Board of Trade. Of the other 
Radicals, Mr. Fawcett was made Postmaster-General, 
without a seat in the Cabinet, for which his blindness 
was held to disqualify him, and Sir Charles Dilke 
Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Goschen 
refused to join the Government because he was not 
prepared to vote for the extension of the county 
franchise, and he was sent as Special Ambassador to 
Constantinople. A good deal of feeling was excited 
among fanatical Protestants by the appointment of one 
Catholic, Lord Eipon, to be Viceroy of India, and 
another. Lord Kenmare, to be Lord Chamberlain. 



THE MIDLOTHIAN CAMPAIGN 165 

On May 7 the * Daily News ' announced that Lord 
Granville had sent a circular to the Powers, urging a 
joint enforcement of the unfulfilled clauses in the 
Treaty of Berlin, such as those which dealt with 
Montenegro, Greece, and Armenia. The object of 
Mr. Goschen's mission was to impress upon the Sultan 
the duty of fulfilling these engagements. On May 10 
there appeared a letter from Gladstone to Count 
Karolyi, the Austrian Ambassador, which was the 
subject of much excited comment. Keferring to letters 
and conversations with the Ambassador, which, un- 
fortunately, were never pubHshed, Gladstone intimated 
that he had obtained from Austria those assurances of 
fidelity to the Treaty of Berlin which he had called 
upon her to give. In these circumstances, he said, it 
was not his intention to repeat or defend in argument 
language which he had used in a position of greater 
freedom and less responsibility. The phrase was 
felicitous, and has become part of the political vocabu- 
lary. But the Opposition bitterly denounced the letter 
as unworthy of a British Minister, ignoring the fact that 
Gladstone's challenge had been answered, and that he 
had received precisely what he asked for. Thus, while 
Lord George Hamilton called the letter shameful and 
shameless. Lord Salisbury pointed out that Gladstone 
had withdrawn nothing, and expressed surprise that 
the Austeian Government should be so easily satisfied. 



166 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

On May 20 the Queen's Speech was delivered. It 
contained a hope for the pacification of Afghanistan, 
an assertion of supremacy over the Transvaal, and an 
opinion that the ordinary law would be sufficient in 
Ireland. This meant that the Peace Preservation Act, 
which expired on June 1, was not to be renewed. On 
the 21st, Gladstone, who had been re-elected without 
opposition after taking office, had his first experience 
of the perplexing case raised by Mr. Bradlaugh, one of 
the members for Northampton, who had refused to 
take the oath of allegiance, on the ground that it had 
no specially binding effect on his conscience. This 
was before Gladstone came back to the House, and 
Lord Frederick Cavendish, Financial Secretary to the 
Treasury, as representing the Government, had moved 
that the case should be referred to a Select Committee. 
The Committee reported, by a majority of one, that Mr. 
Bradlaugh, not being a Quaker, had no right to make 
an affirmation in lieu of an oath, as he had claimed to 
do. Bradlaugh now came forward to take the oath, 
casting the responsibility upon those who would not 
let him affirm. Sir Henry Wolff objected, and Gladstone 
proposed the appointment of another Committee, to 
consider whether the House had a right of interference 
with the discretion of a duly-elected member. He 
pointed out that the duty of taking the oath was 
imposed by statute, and that the proper interpreters of 



THB^jMIDLOTHIAN CAMPAIGN 167 

statutes were the Courts of Law. After a long debate, 
Sir Henry Wolflf's motion that Bradlaugh, having no 
religious belief, could not take an oath, was defeated by 
289 votes to 214, and the Committee was appointed. 
They reported that Bradlaugh was incapable of taking 
an oath, but recommended that he should be allowed 
to affirm at his own risk. On June 21 a motion to 
that effect was made by Mr. Labouchere, the other 
member for Northampton, and supported by Gladstone ; 
but, after two nights* debate, it was defeated by a 
majority of 45. On the 23rd, Bradlaugh again appeared 
to take the oath, but, in accordance with the resolution 
of the House, the Speaker refused to have it admin- 
istered to him. He was, however, allowed to be heard 
on his own behalf at the Bar. He was then ordered 
to withdraw, which he declined to do, and was taken 
into custody by the Serjeant-at-Arms. Gladstone 
declined to interfere. The House, he said, had rejected 
his advice, and the duty of proceeding further in the 
matter devolved upon the leader of the Opposition. 
On June 24, Sir Stafford Northcote, to the general 
surprise, moved that Bradlaugh should be released, and 
released he was. On July 1 the question was settled 
for the year by Gladstone's motion, which the House 
adopted, that any person claiming to affirm should be 
allowed to do so. Bradlaugh accordingly affirmed, 
and took his seat. 



168 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE LAND LEAGUE 

On June 10, Gladstone, as Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, introduced a Supplementary Budget, Sir 
Stafford Northcote's Budget having only provided for 
the early part of the year. It was the first time he 
had made the financial statement of the Grovemment 
for fourteen years. The principal feature of it was the 
unexpected repeal of the Malt Tax, for which Con- 
servative representatives of the farming interests had 
clamoured for many years, but which no Conservative 
Government had found itself able to touch. Glad- 
stone substituted for it a duty on beer, and provided 
for the incidental loss to the revenue by putting 
another penny on the Income Tax, all hope of 
abolishing that tax having long since vanished. The 
Budget met with little opposition, and was generally 
popular. The principal struggle of the session, after 
the case of Mr. Bradlaugh had been temporarily 
disposed of, arose out of the Irish Compensation Bill, 
which Mr. Forster, the Chief Secretary, was compelled 
to introduce by the prevalence of severe distress in 



THE LAND LEAGUE 169 

Ireland, and by the conduct of those landlords who took 
advantage of it to evict their tenants. The Bill, which 
was originally a single clause in a general measure for 
the relief of Irish distress, gave compensation for dis- 
turbance to tenants evicted for not paying tiieir rent, 
and, therefore, not within the Land Act of 1870. It 
was confined to cases arising out of the recent failure 
of the crops ; and Gladstone defended it as an exceptional 
measure required to maintain the principle of property. 
The second reading was carried by 295 votes against 
217. But the Bill did not satisfy the Home Eulers, 
who refused to vote for going into Committee on it, 
and also abstained on the third reading. The Bill was 
read a second time on June 25, and a third time on 
July 26. But the labours of the House of Commons 
upon it were thrown away; Lord Beaconsfield 
strongly opposed it, and on August 3 the House of 
Lords rejected it by 282 votes to 51. Mr. Forster 
strongly protested against this decision, and laid upon 
the House of Lords the responsibility for the condition 
of Ireland. The session was unusually prolonged, 
owing to Tory obstruction and to the resolve of the 
Government that Parliament should not be prorogued 
until all the principal Bills in the Queen's Speech 
had been passed. These were the Ground Game 
Bill, which enabled tenants, in spite of leases, to kill 
hares and rabbits on their own farms ; the Employers* 



170 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

Liability Bill, which modified the doctrine of common 
employment by giving workmen compensation for the 
negligence of foremen as well as masters ; and the 
Burials Bill, which settled a very old controversy by 
permitting Dissenters to bury their dead with their 
own services in the parish churchyard. AU these 
Bills became law before the prorogation, which oc- 
curred on September 7. In August, Sir Wilfrid Law- 
son carried for the first time his proposal for Local 
Option, although Gladstone again declined to support 
an abstract resolution which he was not prepared to 
embody in a Bill. On August 2 it was announced in 
the newspapers that the Prime Minister, almost for 
the first time in his Ufe, was seriously ill. He was 
suffering from fever, accompanied by congestion of the 
lungs. For some days his condition was the cause of 
much anxiety, and his opponents, from Lord Beacons- 
field downwards, showed a sympathetic interest in his 
health. He soon recovered, however, and on August 28 
appeared again in the House of Commons, which 
had in his absence been temporarily led by Lord 
Hartington. 

During the autumn further efforts were made to 
carry out the Treaty of Berlin. On September 14 a 
naval demonstration, organised by all the Great Powers, 
was made off the coast of Albania. The Opposition, 
especially Lord Salisbury, scoffed at this empty show 



THE LAND LEAGUE 171 

of force. But it had its effect upon Turkey, and on 
November 26 Dulcigno was formally ceded by the 
Porte to Prince Nicholas of Montenegro. Meanwhile, 
the state of Ireland was going from bad to worse. 
Distress continued, and so did evictions, which, however, 
the excitement of public opinion made it extremely 
difficult to carry out. The Land League, which had 
been founded in 1879, daily increased in influence, 
under the lead of Mr. Pamell, and the system known 
as * Boycotting ' was now for the first time completely 
organised. The Government endeavoured to meet the 
prevailing discontent in two ways. They appointed an 
Irish Land Commission, of which Lord Bessborough 
was Chairman, to inquire into the best means of 
amending the Irish Land Act, and they also took 
active steps against the promoters of resistance to the 
law. On November 2, criminal informations were 
filed against Pamell and thirteen other leaders of the 
popular party. Their trial was fixed for December 28. 
Meanwhile they took no notice of the prosecution, and 
continued to act as before. An Irish landlord. Lord 
Mountmorres, was brutally murdered, for reasons which 
were never fully explained, and no one was made 
amenable for the crime. There was a clamour in 
England for measures of repression, many meetings 
of the Cabinet were held, and it was decided that Par- 
liament should be called together on January 6, 1881. 



172 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

On November 9, Gladstone, speaking at the Lord 
Mayor's dinner, declared, in very emphatic langoage, 
that the law would be enforced in Irelsmd at all costs, 
and by whatever means might be required for the 
purpose. 

The session of 1881 was almost exclusively Irish. 
It was unusually long, lasting from January 7 to 
August 27. The Queen's Speech announced ihsA her 
Majesty's forces would be withdrawn as soon ae 
possible from Afghanistan, and that Candahar, which 
had been occupied by Lord Lytton, would not be 
permanently retained. It also promised a Bill for the 
protection of property in Ireland, another for the pro- 
tection of life, and a third for the reform of the Land 
Laws. Gladstone gave notice that as soon as the 
debate on the Address was finished he should ask for the 
precedence of the Irish Coercion Bills, to give them 
their popular name. Irish obstruction at once began. 
The debate on the Address was prolonged for eleven 
nights, and was almost wholly devoted to Ireland. iKb*. 
Pamell moved an amendment against coercion, and 
Mr. McCarthy proposed that evictions should not be 
enforced by the Government until the Land Bill had 
been passed. When these motions had been disposed 
of, Mr. Forster introduced his Peace Preservation Bill, 
of which the principal feature was the absolute power 
of the Lord-Lieutenant to arrest anyone officially sus- 



THE LAND DEAGUB 173 

pected of treasonable practices, and detain him without 
trial, till September 30, 1882, when the Act would expire. 
This was a strange Bill for a Liberal Government to 
bring in. But the state of Ireland was so serious that 
Ministers were supported by the vast majority of the 
House. Opposition came only from the Irish Home 
Eulers, and from a few independent Eadicals, such as 
Mr. Co wen, Mr. Labouchere, and Mr. Charles Russell, 
afterwards Lord Chief Justice of England. Gladstone 
declared that the Bill was directed against intolerable 
tyranny, and that it was required to maintain ' the first 
conditions of Christian and civilized existence.' While 
these debates were in progress, the trial of Mr. Pamell, 
Mr. Dillon, and the other State prisoners, came to an 
end at Dublin. The jury were unable to agree, and 
the Government did not put the defendants on their 
trial again. The Irish members endeavoured by 
physical endurance to prevent the Coercion Bill from 
being brought in. The knot seemed inextricable ; it 
was cut. The House of Commons sat continuously 
for forty-one hours — from four o'clock on Monday, 
January 31, to nine o'clock on the following Wednesday 
morning. Mr. Speaker Brand then came into the House, 
and, having taken the chair which the Deputy-speaker 
vacated, declined to call on Mr. Biggar, who had risen 
to continue the debate, put the question, and threw 
himself upon the support of the House. He explained 



174 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

that a grave crisis had arisen for which ordinary mles 
did not provide, and with which he was compelled 
therefore personally to deal. 

The first reading of the Bill was carried by 164 to 
19, and Gladstone at once gave notice of a motion for 
accelerating its further progress. This was that, on the 
proposal of the Speaker, supported by forty members 
rising in theii places, public business might be declared 
urgent by a division without debate, and that thereupon 
the control of procedure should pass into the hands 
of the Speaker for so long as he thought necessary. 
This resolution was to be moved on February 3. 
But the Irish members were determined to prevent it 
from coming on. They had been exasperated by 
Sir William Harcourt's announcement that Michael 
Davitt's ticket of leave had been withdrawn, and when 
Gladstone rose, Mr. Dillon, following an unfortunate 
precedent set by Gladstone himself on July 14, 1880, 
moved that he should not be heard. He was at once sus- 
pended, and removed by the Serjeant-at-Arms. But the 
obstruction was continued by the thirty-five other Home 
Eulers who were present, until, by half -past eight, they 
had all been turned out of the House. Then, at last, 
Gladstone was able to propose his resolution, with 
amendments, which he accepted from Sir Stafford 
Northcote, to the effect that a motion for urgency must 
be made by a Minister, that it might be brought to an 



THE LAND LEAGUE 175 

end by another motion, and that at least 200 members 
must vote for it. In a speech, which Sir Stafford 
described as having enthralled and entranced the House, 
Gladstone said that his personal interest in the question 
was small. His lease was almost run out, but he im- 
plored the House of Commons not to allow itself to be 
made the laughing-stock of the world. At the sug- 
gestion of Sir Stafford Northcote, the resolution was 
still further modified so as to include only a particular 
Bill, and it was added that urgency must be voted by a 
majority of three to one in a House of 300 members. 
The resolution, thus altered, was carried by 234 to 
156. On February 4 the Speaker, acting upon it, 
laid certain rules upon the table, the chief of which 
enabled him to put the question whenever he thought fit. 
The Irish members, however, continued the struggle, and 
on February 18 the Speaker produced further rules, 
one of which contained the time limit, afterwards 
known as the gag. Taking advantage of this, Gladstone, 
on February 21, moved, and carried by an overwhelming 
majority, that the proceedings in Committee on the 
Bill should be brought to a close on the next day. But 
of the sixty-three members who voted against this resolu- 
tion thirteen were Conservatives. The report of the Bill 
was hastened in the same way, and on February 24 it 
was read a third time, and passed the House of Lords 
in three days. Urgency was then applied to the Arms 



176 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Bill, which prohibited for five years the carrying of 
weapons in proclaimed districts of Ireland, and gave 
the police the right of search for them. This Bill, 
which was in the hands of Sir William Harcourt, had 
to be forced through the House by the same drastic 
methods as its predecessor. 

Twice in this session Gladstone had occasion to 
deliver one of those obituary speeches in which he 
excelled all his contemporaries. On March 13, Alex- 
ander II., Emperor of Eussia, was jnurdered in St. 
Petersburg, and on the 15th a vote of condolence with 
the Imperial family was moved by Gladstone in the 
House of Commons. He paid an eloquent tribute to 
the memory of the Sovereign who liberated the serfs, 
and quoted Homer, perhaps for the only time in his 
life, not in the original, but in Pope. Lord Beacons- 
field's death, which had been for some time expected, 
occurred on April 19, and on May 9 Gladstone pro- 
posed that a national memorial should be erected to 
him in Westminster Abbey. His speech was a master- 
piece of tact and taste. Without saying anything he 
did not believe, he praised, in just and adequate terms. 
Lord Beaconsfield's singular tenacity of purpose and 
great Parliamentary courage. On April 5, Gladstone 
made his financial statement. But the days of his 
great Budgets were over, and his proposals were tame. 
He had a surplus of rather more than a million. By 



THE LAND' LEAGUE 177 

means of this, and by substituting a probate duty of 
one and a half for a legacy duty of one per cent., he 
was enabled to take off the penny from the Income Tax. 
which he had put on the year before. He also pro- 
posed a reduction of debt to the amount of sixty 
millions by turning short into long annuities. On 
April 7 the claims of Greece, for which Gladstone had 
pleaded so earnestly in Opposition, were settled by the 
transfer to the Greek kingdom of Thessaly and part 
of Epirus. Janina and Metzovo, however, remained 
Turkish. 

On April 22, Gladstone was able to announce in 
the House of Commons the terms which had been 
made with the Government of the Transvaal. So 
early as December 16, 1880, the Boers had taken the 
most practical means of showing that they were not in 
favour of annexation by rising in armed rebellion, and 
proclaiming the South African Eepublic. On January 21, 
during the debate on the Address, Mt. Bylands proposed 
an amendment condemning the annexation of the 
country* Gladstone objected to it as inopportune, and, 
as a matter of fact, negotiations were at that time 
proceeding through President Brand, of the Orange 
Free State. White they were in progress, on January 26, 
Sir George Colley made an xmfortunate attack upon 
the Boers at Laing's Nek, which was repulsed: with 
heavy l6ss. On February 27 he was himself attacked 

N 



178 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

at Majuba ; his little force was routed, and he himRolf 
was killed. Sir Evelyn Wood, who succeeded to the 
command, assured the Government that he was in 
sufEicient strength to crush the rebellion. Bat the 
Government refused to interrupt the negotiations on 
account of these defeats. On March 6 an armistice 
was concluded, and the war was never resumed. 

The conditions of peace, as explained by the Prime 
Minister, were that the suzerainty of the Queen over the 
Transvaal should be maintained, and that the burghers 
should enjoy complete self-government ; but that their 
foreign relations should be under British control, and 
that there should be a British Resident at the capitaL 
A Boyal Commission was to determine the rights 
and provide for the protection of the natives. This 
settlement was bitterly attacked, both ini^de and ouir 
side Parliament, as a cowardly surrender. Gladstone^ 
however, defended it on the ground that to break off 
negotiations already begun on account of defeat 
would have been a useless, and therefore wicked, 
sacrifice of life. It was not till July 25 that the 
question was fully discussed in the House of Commons. 
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach then moved a vote of 
censure on the Government, and Gladstone formally 
justified the policy of the Cabinet. He laid stress upon 
the fact that the first overtures to peace had come 
from Mr. Kruger through President Brand» and he 



THE LAND LEAGUE 179 

declared, on the authority of the High Commissioner, 
Sir Hercules Eobinson, afterwards Lord Eosmead, 
that the whole Dutch population of the Cape were in 
sympathy with the desire of the Transvaal for inde- 
pendence. He explained the measures that had been 
taken on behalf of the native population, and maintained 
that they were adequate. Sir Michael's motion was 
rejected by 315 votes against 204. 

On April 7, Gladstone introduced his second Irish 
Land Bill, which is, perhaps, the greatest of all his 
legislative achievements. It did not so much amend 
the Act of 1870 as provide a different system and a new 
code more in harmony with the facts and customs of 
Irish Ufe. Dealing with the reports of the Duke of 
Eichmond's Commission, appointed by the late Govern- 
ment, and of Lord Bessborough's, appointed by his 
own, he showed that the Commissioners, though they 
differed in many important respects, were, with one ex- 
ception, in favour of a Land Court. Such a Court he 
proposed to constitute for the fixing of judicial rents. 
Either landlord or tenant could apply to the Court ; the 
rent, when fixed, was to last for fifteen years ; it was 
perpetually renewable, and no tenant, paying a judicial 
rent, was to be evicted so long as he paid it. Every 
tenant was to have the right of selling his farm, and no 
contract was to be valid against the Act in the case 
of any holding valued at less than 1001. of rental. 

N 2 



180 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

There were to be three Land Commissioners, of whom 
one would have the rank of a judge, and there were to be 
Assistant Commissioners for every county. If a tenant 
wished to purchase his holding, the Commissioners were 
to advance three-fourths of the purchase money by way 
of loan, and there was to be an absolute Parliamentary 
title. Provision was also made for the sale of a whole 
estate, when three-fourths of the tenants holding three- 
fourths of the value desired to purchase. Gladstone 
was accused of having, in this speech, banished poll- 
tical economy to Saturn. The foundation for this 
singular charge was, that in alluding to the report of 
Professor Bonamy Price, who was against all inter- 
ference with supply and demand, Gladstone remarked 
that the Professor proposed to legislate for Ireland as 
if he were legislating for Saturn or for Jupiter. Any 
political economist, even Bicardo, would admit that a 
statesman, in framing a law, must consider the circum- 
stances of the country to which it would apply. This 
Bill led to the resignation of the Duke of Argyll, who 
considered that his colleagues had departed from sound 
economic principles. The Duke's ofl&ce, the Privy Seal, 
was a sinecure ; but he was the most eloquent spokes- 
man of the Cabinet in the House of Lords. He was 
succeeded by Lord Carlingford, a less brilliant but a 
more useful Minister. The second reading of the Bill 
was moved in the House of Commons on April 26, and 



THE LAND LEAGUE 181 

the debate continued till May 18, when it was^carried 
by 352 to 176. Mr. Pamell and thirty-five of his 
followers abstained from voting, on thecground that the 
Bill was inadequate, and they did much to delay the 
progress of the measure in Committee. On July 14, 
Gladstone strongly denounced their obstructive tactics ; 
but on the 30th the Bill was at last read a third time. 
The final opposition to it came from Lord Bandolph 
Churchill, now the recognised leader of what was 
called the Fourth Party. Sir Stafford Northcote, with 
most of his followers, dissociated themselves from Lord 
Eandolph, who had only fifteen supporters in the 
Lobby. In the House of Lords the Bill was read a 
second time on August 2 without a division. But very 
serious alterations were made in Committee, most of 
which the House of Commons refused to accept. The 
Lords adhered to them, and for some days it seemed 
probable that the conflict between the two Houses 
would result in the loss of the Bill. Ultimately, how- 
ever, the Lords gave way on almost all points except- 
ing the clause, originally proposed by Mr. Parnell, for 
giving the benefit of the Act to tenants already evicted. 
On August 16, Gladstone abandoned this clause on the 
groimd that Mr. Pamell himself attached little impor- 
tance to it. The Lords dropped most of their other 
amendments, and the Bill became law. 

A good deal of time was wasted this session in futile 



182 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

wrangling over the case of Mr. Bradlaugh, who had 
been unseated by the judgment of the Courts and 
subsequently re-elected for Northampton. On April 
26 he again claimed to take the oath, but Sir Stafford 
Northcote moved that he was incapable of taking it, 
and should not be allowed to do so. Gladstone sup- 
ported, in a purely legal speech, an amendment moved 
by Mr. Horace Davey, afterwards Lord Davey, to the 
effect that the House had no right to interfere with 
the conscience of a duly elected member. But the 
original motion was carried by 208 to 175, and Brad- 
laugh, refusing to withdraw from the table, was 
removed from it by force. Gladstone declined to inter- 
fere, on the ground that the House would not take his 
advice, and that the responsibility for further steps rested 
with those whose advice it had taken. The next day 
Mr. Bradlaugh again appeared, and this time Gladstone 
so far met the demand of the Opposition, that the 
Government should take some step, as to promise that 
he would introduce a Bill if morning sittings could, 
by arrangement, be set apart for it. This proposal, 
however, was strenuously resisted by the Conserva- 
tives, and finally failed. On May 10, Mr. Bradlaugh, 
tired of waiting, again presented himself; and this 
time was, on Sir Stafford's motion, excluded from 
the precincts of the House. Li accordance with this 
resolution, he was, on August 3, taken from the Lobby 



THE LAND LEAGUE 183 

by the police and dragged downstairs into Palace 
Yard. For this proceeding the Speaker assumed 
responsibility, and Gladstone agreed that he had no 
other course open to him than to carry out, by any 
means available, the instructions of the House. 

During this autumn the state of Ireland, with the 
working of the Peace Preservation Act and the Land 
Act, absorbed public attention. Although more than 
1,000 persons were at one time imprisoned without a 
trial by the warrant of the Lord-Lieutenant, the 
peace of the country continued to be seriously dis- 
turbed. Speaking at Leeds on October 7, Gladstone 
compared Pamell very unfavourably with O'Connell, 
who, he said, had always acted for the good of the 
Irish people as a whole. Pamell, on the contrary, 
endeavoured to prevent a friendly settlement between 
landlord and tenant. He stood, like Moses, between the 
living and the dead, but, unlike Moses, his object was 
to spread the plague. While denouncing Pameirs 
conduct in stringent terms, Gladstone also complained 
that the loyal classes in Ireland were apathetic, and did 
not give the Government the support which it had a 
right to expect. Five days afterwards, when receiving 
at the Guildhall the freedom of the city, Gladstone 
excited enthusiastic cheering from an audience, which 
must have been chiefly composed of Conservatives, by 
announcing that a warrant had been issued for the 



184 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

arrest of Mr. Parnell on suspicion of treasonable prac- 
tices. This warrant was executed on the 15th ; two 
other members of Parliament, Mr. Sexton and Mr. 
O'Kelly, being also apprehended. The reply to this step 
was the issue fromKilmainham Qsoly by the captives, of 
the No-Eent Manifesto, urging the Irish tenants not to 
pay their landlords anything until their champions were 
released and their arrears were wiped out. The same 
day the Land League was suppressed by the proclama- 
tion of the Lord-Lieutenant as an illegal body, which 
it had been declared from the judicial bench to be. It 
was feared that the winter in Ireland would be, in the 
political sense, very stormy, and the number of troops 
there was raised to 25,000. On October 26, Gladstone, 
accompanied by Lord Derby, addressed a Liberal 
meeting at Liverpool, and charged the leaders of the 
Land League with marching through rapine to the 
dismemberment of the Empire. 

Parliament met on February 7, 1882. Nearly a 
month before, on January 12, at the annual dinner 
to the tenants on the Hawarden estate, Gladstone 
announced that the first duty of Parliament was now 
to improve its own procedure in the interests of 
public business. But he reckoned without Ireland, 
which again consumed the greater part of the ordinary 
session. The first question to arise, however, was the 
apparently interminable case of Mr. Bradlaugh, who, 



THE LAND LEAGUE 185 

on February 7, again presented himself to take the 
oath. Sir Stafford Northcote again moved the resolu- 
tion of April 26, to prevent him from doing so, and, 
though Gladstone supported the previous question, on 
the old ground that the matter was one for the Courts, 
Sir Stafford's motion was carried against the Govern- 
ment by 286 to 228. On February 21, Mr. Bradlaugh 
varied the monotony of these proceedings by suddenly 
advancing to the table and administering the oath to 
himself. An angry debate followed, which was adjourned 
to the next day. Gladstone then stated the decision of 
the Cabinet, which was that the Conservative Party had 
taken the case out of the Government's hands, and must 
therefore be left to deal with it themselves. Sir Stafford 
Northcote thereupon moved and carried that Bradlaugh 
should be expelled the House. But he was re-elected 
for Northampton by an increased majority. Before 
he could appear in the House, however, Sir Stafford 
Northcote once more moved that he should not be 
permitted to take the oath, and, though Gladstone 
opposed (the motion, it was carried by fifteen votes. 

The Irish Question was at once raised on the Address 
by Mr. Smyth's amendment in favour of Home Eule. 
Gladstone, in a remarkable speech, which surprised 
many of his supporters and many of his opponents, 
directed his arguments, not against the principle of 
Home Eule, but against its practicability under present 



186 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

conditions. No plan, he said, had been produced which 
would be workable under the British Constitution and 
which would provide for the supremacy of the Imperial 
Parliament. Mr. Plunket, afterwards Lord Bathmore, 
replying on behalf of the Opposition, described this 
speech as at least a partial surrender to the Home 
Eulers, and said that Gladstone could no longer in 
consistency oppose the Irish demand for a ParUamentary 
inquiry. This was on February 9, and a week later, 
Gladstone, in response to numerous challenges, pro- 
tested that his views were unchanged, inasmuch as 
the question had always been for him how the supre- 
macy of Parliament could be preserved. 

On February 20, Gladstone proposed his resolutions 
for reforming the procedure of the House, of which the 
most important were the adoption of the closure and 
the appointment of standing committees as substitutes 
in certain cases for Conunittees of the whole House. 
The debate had not proceeded far when it was inter- 
rupted by other matters, and it was not till March 30 
that even the principle of the closure, as distinguished 
from the resolution that embodied it, was carried by 
318 to 279; the further consideration of the subject 
had to be postponed till the autunm. 

Early in the session Lord Donoughmore carried, in 
the House of Lords against the Government, the appoint- 
ment of a Select Committee to inquire into the working 



THE LAND LEAGUE 187 

of the Land Act. The Cabinet refused to recognise the 
Committee, and no Ministerialist sat upon it. Gladstone 
took so strong a view of the conduct of the Lords in 
seeking to interfere, as he put it, with the proceedings 
of a statutory tribunal, that on February 27 he moved 
in the House of Commons a protest against the appoint- 
ment of the Conamittee, which was really a vote of 
censure on the majority of the other House. He 
called upon the House of Commons to declare that 
such a proceeding was unconstitutional, and dangerous 
to the peace of Ireland. After a long debate, his motion 
was carried on March 9 by 303 to 235. Meanwhile the 
Committee had been appointed, and it continued to sit 
and take evidence. But it prudently abstained from 
asking the Commissioners to explain their judicial deci- 
sion, and nothing practical came of it. 

Li Ireland the question of arrears became more 
urgent, and on March 26, in a debate on Mr. Eedmond's 
Bill for amending the Land Act, Gladstone stated that 
while he could not consent, after so short an interval, 
to any general alteration of the law, the Government 
were not indisposed to deal with the specific question 
of arrears which had been omitted from the Act by the 
vote of the Lords. A grave crisis occurred soon after- 
wards in Irish politics. On April 28, Lord Cowper, 
the Lord-Lieutenant, resigned ; the ostensible ground 
of his resignation was weak health. He was succeeded 



188 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

by Lord Spencer, who, unlike his predecessor, had 
a seat in the Cabinet. 

While the public were still speculating on the true 
reasons of this change, Gladstone announced, on May 3, 
that Mr. Pamell and his colleagues had been released 
from custody, that an inquiry would be made into the 
cases of all persons detained on suspicion, and that, as a 
substitute for Mr. Forster's Act, another Bill would be 
introduced to strengthen the ordinary law. Mr. Forster 
resigned, and Lord Frederick Cavendish, Gladstone's 
intimate friend and nephew by marriage, was appointed 
to succeed hiin. On May 6, Mr. Forster explained the 
grounds of his resignation. He had been unable, he 
said, to concur in the opinion that the release of the 
suspected persons was justified, either by any satisfac- 
tory assurances from them or by the condition of 
Lreland. Gladstone, in reply, referred to his own speech 
on Mr. Eedmond's Bill, and intimated that, in the 
opinion of the Government, the peace of Lreland would 
be greatly furthered by an Arrears Bill, in which they 
might hope for the support of the Irish Home Eulers. 
If a reconciliation could be effected, it would be un- 
reasonable to detain in prison men who might help 
in carrying it out. 

These sanguine expectations were doomed to .a 
terrible disappointment. On May 6, Lord Frederick 
Cavendish was sworn in at Dublin Castle as Chief 



THE LAND LEAGUE 189 

Secretary for Ireland. At seven o'clock on the same 
evening he and Mr. Burke, the Under-Secretary, were 
murdered in the Phoenix Park. Mr. Forster made a 
chivalrous offer to return to Ireland and carry on the 
business of the Castle, but this was not accepted, and 
Mr. Trevelyan became Chief Secretary. On May 8 
the House of Commons at once adjourned after a few 
brief speeches, in which the representatives of all 
parties expressed their horror of the crime. Gladstone, 
speaking with evident difficulty, and with an emotion 
which he hardly ever showed in public, deplored the 
loss of a man devoted to the best interests of Ireland. 
Mr. Pamell also spoke with evident feeling, and it 
afterwards became known that he had shown his 
sincerity by offering, in a private letter to the Prime 
Minister, that he would retire from public hfe if the 
Government thought it in the public interest that he 
should do so. 

On May 11 the funeral of Lord Frederick Cavendish, 
near Chatsworth, was attended by a large proportion 
of the House of Commons, headed by the Prime 
Minister ; and the same evening Sir William Harcourt 
introduced a Bill for the Prevention of Crime in 
Ireland. Although it did not authorise the detention 
of untried persons on suspicion, it was extremely, per- 
haps excessively, stringent. It provided that, for three 
years, treason, murder, and agrarian offences might be 



190 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

tried by a commission of judges without a jury. 
Against this provision the Irish judges protested, and 
one of them, Baron Fitzgerald, resigned; but, though 
passed, it was never put in force. The Bill also gave 
the police the power to search dwelling-houses for 
arms by day or by night, and conferred upon the Executive 
the right to expel aliens at their discretion. News- 
papers could also be suppressed by the Irish Govern- 
ment ; meetings which the Lord-Lieutenant regarded as 
unlawful could be dispersed ; witnesses could be com- 
pelled, under pain of imprisonment, to attend inquiries 
into crimes, although no one had been arrested as a 
criminal. This last provision, and the clauses which 
enlarged the power of selecting jurymen by changing 
the venue, and otherwise, proved to be by far the most 
useful in the Bill. 

As a set-off against this severe measure, which 
the Home Eulers almost unanimously condenmed, 
Gladstone, on May 15, introduced his Arrears Bill. 
The object of this Bill, confined to tenancies below 
the annual value of SOL, was to wipe out arrears of 
rent in Ireland altogether where the tenants were 
unable to pay them. It was a condition that the 
tenant must have paid his rent from November, 1880, 
to November, 1881. If he had done that and could, 
in the opinion of the Land Court or the County 
Court, pay no more, he was to receive, as a free gift 



THE LAND LEAGUE 191 

from the State, half the amount of the arrears which 
might have accrued before ^November, 1880, and the 
remainder was to be cancelled. The sum required for 
this purpose was estimated at 2,000,000Z., of which Glad- 
stone calculated that three-fourths could be obtained 
from the surplus of the Irish Church, while the rest 
would have to come from the ConsoUdated Fund. 

But before this Bill or the Crimes Bill could be 
seriously discussed, the Opposition raised a debate upon 
what they called the Treaty of Kilmainham. It had trans- 
pired that, before Pameirs release, correspondence passed 
between him, the Prime Minister, and Mr. Chamber- 
lain, through Captain O'Shea, an Irish Whig. Writing 
to Captain O'Shea, Parnell gave the assurance that, if 
the question of arrears were settled, he would be able to 
co-operate with the Government in the restoration of 
order. When this letter was first read by Captain 
O'Shea to the House of Commons, he unfortunately 
omitted a paragraph in which Parnell offered to act 
with the Liberal Party in the promotion of Liberal 
principles. The suppressed paragraph was brought out 
by Mr. Forster, who added that he would have con- 
curred in the release of the prisoners if Parnell had 
promised for the future to act within the law. Mr. 
Forster produced a great impression by asserting that, 
in a private conversation. Captain O'Shea, on Pamell's 
behalf, undertook that the conspiracy, which had been 



192 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

used to promote outrages, shonld, if his terms were 
accepted, be employed to pnt them down. Mn 
Balfour brought the whole subject before Parliament 
by moving the adjournment of the House, and deolared 
that the Groyemment had incurred indelible in&my. 
Gladstone, speaking for ihe whole Cabinet, except, of 
course, Mr. Forster, gave a positive assurance that the 
prisoners had been rel^ksed because, in the opinion of 
her Majesty's Ministers, there was no sufficient 
ground for detaining them further. He protested 
emphatically that there had been no bargain whatever, 
and that as soon as he heard of Mr. Famell's offer to act 
with the Liberal Farty, he told Mr. Forster that it wss 
one he had no right either to expect or to accept. This 
did not satisfy the Conservatives, and an angry debate 
followed. But no division was taken, and the dis- 
cussion was never renewed. 

The House then proceeded with the Crimes Bill, 
and sat, for the first time in thirty-six years, on Derby 
Day. Mr. Dillon took this opportunity to make an elabo- 
rate defence of boycotting, in what Gladstone called ' a 
heartbreaking speech.' Gladstone himself, who after- 
wards came to see a good deal more in Mr. Dillon's 
arguments than he then admitted, described boycotting 
as combined intimidation by means of starvation and 
ruin. The sanction of it, he said, was ' the murder which 
was not to be denounced.' After the drastic application 



THE LAND LEAGUE 193 

of ' urgency ' roles, and the suspension of Irish mem- 
bers in a batch, on the groxmd that, according to 
Mr. Flajrfair, the Chairman of Committees, they had 
been guilty of combined obstruction, though some of 
them were absent, and some were actually in bed, the 
Crimes Bill was forced through Committee early in 
July. On the 7th of that month, at the stage of 
report, the Government suffered an unexpected defeat. 
Gladstone had given a promise to Mr. Pamell in 
Committee that he would not insist upon the clause 
which authorised the police to search dwelling-houses 
for arms at night. He accordingly proposed to omit 
it in the House, both on account of his pledge, and 
also because the power was not required by Lord 
Spencer, who considered it more irritating than useful. 
Sevend Liberals, including Mr. George Bussell and 
Mr. Lambton, joined the Conservatives in protesting 
against this concession, and Gladstone intimated that if 
the Government were defeated he might have to recon- 
sider his personal position. But, in spite of this veiled 
threat, the Government were put in a minority of thirteen, 
the Pamellites, for whom the concession was made, 
refusing to vote. Gladstone said that in ordinary 
circumstances the Government would, after such a 
vote, have dropped the Bill,; but that the state of Ireland 
made such a course impossible. This was on a Friday ; 
on Monday the Prime Minister announced that the 





194 LEPB OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

Qoyemment considered it the more manly course to 
remain at a post which no one was likely to enyy 
them. 

The Arrears Bill passed without much difficulty 
through the House of Commons, and the Opposition 
did not divide against the second reading in the 
Lords. But, in Committee, Lord Salisbury, who had 
succeeded Lord Beaconsfield as leader of the Con- 
servative Peers, carried an amendment which made 
the Bill voluntary, thus enabling every landlord to 
prevent its operation on his estate, and, in the opinion 
of the Government, making it absolutely worthless. 
The House of Commons disagreed with Lord Salis- 
bury's amendment, and when the Bill went back to the 
Lords there was every prospect of a constitutional 
crisis, which might have led to a change of Govern- 
ment. But Lord Salisbury was deserted by his fol- 
lowers. In withdrawing his amendment, on August 
10, he spoke strongly against the Bill, which he 
denounced as robbery, and against the Minister who 
had introduced it. For himself, he said, he was quite 
willing to take his responsibility for the consequences 
of rejecting it ; but others thought differently, and he 
was, therefore, reluctantly compelled to give way. 
Some smaller amendments of the Lords were agreed 
to by the CoDMnons and the Bill became law. 



195 



CHAPTEE XVn 

EGYPT 

The affairs of Egypt came before Parliament several 
times during the session, and Gladstone's Egyptian 
policy was severely criticised by some of his Eadical 
followers. But at that time Gladstone's power and 
influence were such that he could do almost any- 
thing he liked. During this sunmier the dual control 
of England and Prance practically broke down, 
though it was not formally abolished till the following 
January. The authority of the Khedive Tewfik Pasha 
was threatened by a military movement under an 
adventurous soldier called Arabi. On June 11 there 
were fatal riots in Alexandria, and the British Consul, 
Mr. Cookson, was wounded. A month later, after 
repeated warnings against the arming of the forts, 
which was considered a menace to the foreign and 
especially the British ships^ Admiral Sir Beauchamp 
Seymour, afterwards Lord Alcester, bombarded the forts 
and destroyed them. This action on the part of the 
British Government, in which the French Chamber 

o2 



196 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

wonld not allow the French Gk)Yemment to assist, led 
to the retirement of Mr. Bright, who declared it to be 
a violation of the moral law. Gladstone, on the other 
hand, maintained that the role of Arab! was a military 
tyranny, from which it was the duty of the British 
Government, on account of their position in Egypt, to 
relieve the Egyptian people. Mr. Bright's place was 
filled by Mr. Dodson, afterwards Lord Monk-Bretton, 
and Sir Charles Dilke entered the Cabinet for the first 
time as President of the Local Government Board. 
On July 25 the reserves were called out, and an 
expedition was sent, under Sir Garnet Wolseley, after- 
wards Lord Wolseley, to restore order and the authority 
of the Khedive. The rebellion of Arabi Pasha was 
crushed at Tel-el-Eebir, and Arabi himself was banished 
to Ceylon. 

On July 24, Gladstone, making his last appearance 
as Chancellor of the Exchequer, moved a vote of credit, 
on account of the Egyptian Expedition, for 2,300,0002. 
In his ordinary Budget, introduced on April 24, he had 
proposed no financial change, except an increase of the 
Carriage Duty to relieve the Highway Bates. He 
now raised the Income Tax from 5d. to Q^d., or to 8d, 
for the half year, within which the whole of the increase 
was to be collected. This covered the vote of credit to 
which the House agreed on July 27, but which turned 
out to be a very small part of what interference in 



EGYPT 197 

Egypt was to cost us. On August 18 the House of 
Commons adjourned till October 24, for the purpose of 
dealing with Gladstone's resolutions on procedure. 
These were not passed till December 2, when Parlia- 
ment was at last prorogued. The first resolution, 
providing that closure must be voted by more than 200 
members, or if the minority were less than 40 by more 
than 100, was not carried till November 10. The 
most important of the other rules were that which 
established Grand Committees, and that which provided 
that opposed business should not be taken after half- 
past twelve. 

After the prorogation several changes were made 
in the Cabinet. Gladstone gave up the Chancellorship 
of the Exchequer to Mr. Childers; Lord Hartington 
became Secretary for War ; Lord Eamberley for Lidia ; 
and Lord Derby joined the Liberal Government for 
the first time as Secretary of State for the Colonies. 
On September 1, Archbishop Tait died, and Gladstone 
gave satisfaction to his political opponents, as well as 
to his ecclesiastical friends, by nominating for the 
Primacy Dr. Benson, Bishop of Truro, one of the 
youngest prelates on the Bench. 

The labours of this protracted session were too 
much even for Gladstone's strength. His health broke 
down, for the time ; he was ordered to the South of 
France, and though Parliament did not meet in 1883 



198 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

till February 15, he was unable to be present at the 
opening of the session. 

He returned, however, before Easter, and, on 
April 26, in the debate upon the second reading of 
the Affirmation Bill, he deUvered one of the most 
eloquent speeches ever heard in the House of Commons. 
The Bill was a very simple one, for enabling any 
member of Parliament to make an affirmation instead 
of taking an oath. But it was, of course, regarded as 
a Bradlaugh Belief Bill, and attacked with violence 
accordingly. Gladstone showed how vain were the 
fears of those who resisted the entrance into Parlia- 
ment of CathoUcs and Jews. The Catholics had 
not impaired the Protestantism nor the Jews the 
Christianity of England. He did not shrink from 
dealing with the purely religious aspect of the question, 
and the last part of his speech reads like a sermon. 
What, he asked, was the value of pure Theism ? 
Quoting some magnificent lines of Lucretius, he argued 
that Agnosticism and not Atheism was the special 
danger of the time. In a peroration of singular beauty 
he implored the House not to connect the truths of 
religion with the sense of political and personal in- 
justice. The Bill, however, was, on May 3, rejected by 
292 votes against 289. 

On the 4th, Mr. Bradlaugh had again appeared to 
take the oath, Gladstone once more declined to interfere. 



EGYPT 199 

and Sir Stafford Northcote carried another motion that 
Bradlaugh should not be permitted to go through a 
meaningless form. Gladstone supported the previous 
question, which was moved by Mr. Labouchere. 

At a meeting of the party held in the Foreign 
Office on May 29, Gladstone, dealing with the require- 
ments of public business, and the small progress 
hitherto made with Government Bills, indicated the 
Corrupt Practices Bill as one which it was peculiarly 
essential to pass. This Bill, which became law before 
the end of the session, did a good deal to check the 
more obvious forms of bribery. But its most useful 
feature was the pecuniary limit which it imposed even 
upon legitimate expenditure in proportion to the size of 
the constituency. Besides this the principal measures 
of the year were Mr. Chamberlain's Bankruptcy Act, 
which gave jurisdiction, in cases of insolvency, to the 
Board of Trade, and the Agricultural Holdings Act, 
which conferred upon farmers the right of compensa- 
tion for improvements. 

Before the summer was over the case of Mr. 
Bradlaugh cropped up once more. On July 8 he 
wrote to Gladstone announcing his intention of taking 
his seat. Gladstone, who, since his first defeat on 
the question, had always disclaimed responsibility, 
forwarded the letter to Sir Stafford Northcote, 
who again carried a resolution excluding Bradlaugh 



200 LH^ OF.W. E. GLADSTONE 



>•'< 



from the precincts of the House. Gladstone declined 
to vote one way or the other. On July 27 he had the 
difficult task of defending a proposal to charge the 
revenues of India with a seventh part of the money 
spent upon the Egyptian campaign. He did so on the 
rather flimsy ground that the Suez Canal was an 
Indian interest. Just before the close of the session, 
after protracted debates on the Irish Estimates, Glad- 
stone, rising above the sordid level of mutual re- 
crimination, made a dignified and pathetic appeal to 
the Irish members, in which he implored them to ask 
themselves what good purpose could be served by the 
constant use of inflammatory language. It was the 
sort of speech which only he could have made. But 
Mr. Healy, to whom it was specially directed, after 
expressing personal admiration of the Prime Minister, 
replied that the only thing which prevented war 
between the two countries was physical force. In 
September of this year, Gladstone, accompanied by his 
old friend Mr. Tennyson, took a short trip on Sir Donald 
Currie's ship, the * Pembroke Castle,' to the North of 
Scotland, and afterwards to Copenhagen, where they 
met several Eoyal personages, including the Czar. 
At Kirkwall, where the Prime Minister and the Poet 
Laureate both received the freedom of the borough, 
Gladstone made the most graceful of his occasional 
speeches, contrasting the perishable nature of the 



EGYPT 201 

statesman's fame with the immortal renown of the 
great poet. One result of this voyage appeared in 
the ' London Gazette ' of the following January, when 
it was announced that her Majesty had conferred a 
peerage upon Mr. Tennyson, the first poet who entered 
the House of Lords as such. It was on January 9, 
1884, at Hawarden, that Gladstone delivered his famous 
speech on jam. A Prime Minister on jam is an easy 
subject for ridicule ; but Gladstone's advice, that more 
time and trouble should be given to the cultivation of 
fruit, was adopted with great profit in several parts of 
England. 

The session of 1884 was again disturbed by Mr. 
Bradlaugh, who, on February 9, duly introduced by two 
other members, came up to the table, and for the 
second time administered the oath to himself. His 
object was to obtain a legal decision upon the question 
whether he was qualified to take an oath, and in this 
he succeeded. For, although Sir Stafford Northcote 
again moved and carried a motion that he should not 
be allowed to go through this form, he voted in the 
division. The House decided by a majority that his 
vote should be disallowed. But he voted in that 
division, and as it was obvious that this process could 
be indefinitely repeated, the matter was not further 
pressed. He could now be sued for a penalty if he 
had not taken the oath according to law, and therefore 



202 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

the question was ripe for decision by the judges^ 
Meanwhile, in case he had vacated his seat, he applied 
for the Chiltem Hundreds, and was re-elected at North- 
ampton. But the House again excluded him from its 
precincts, in spite of a solemn protest from Gladstone, 
who reminded them that Bradlaugh had appealed to 
the law. 

A far more serious question soon engaged the 
attention of Parliament. In November, 1883, an 
Egyptian army, under Hicks Pasha, a former colonel in 
the Indian service, had been defeated and destroyed by 
the forces of the Mahdi in the Soudan. The Egyptian 
garrisons were in great danger, and, on January 18, 
General Gordon, of Chinese fame, who had once been 
Governor-General of the Soudan, undertook, at the 
request of the British Government, to effect their relief 
by peaceful means. After an interview with Sir Evelyn 
Baring, afterwards Lord Cromer, at Cairo, he left for 
Khartoum without a military escort, and accompanied 
only by his aide-de-camp. Colonel Stewart. But, on 
February 12, it was announced that the garrison of 
Sinkat had been cut to pieces ; and when, on the same 
evening. Sir Stafford Northcote rose to move a vote of 
censure on the Egyptian policy of the Government, 
Gladstone's position was a dif&cult one. He defended 
himself, however, on the double ground that the great 
source of evil in Egypt was the dual control which he 



EGYPT 203 

had inherited from his predecessors, and that since the 
British occupation began valuable reforms had been 
carried out. As for the future, there was to be no re- 
conquest of the Soudan, but the garrison of Tokar was to 
be relieved from Suakim. Adopting a phrase from Sir 
Wilfrid Lawson, he said the policy of the Govern- 
ment was to * rescue and retire.' The motion was 
rejected by the narrow majority of eighteen, and a similar 
motion in the House of Lords was carried by 100. 
A few days after the division came the news that 
Tokar had surrendered to Osman Digna. Becurring 
to the subject, on April 3, Gladstone declared that 
Gordon had full authority to return whenever he 
thought proper, and denounced the plea for intervention 
as merely made in the interests of the bondholders. 
Meanwhile the public became anxious about Gordon's 
fate, and on May 12 another vote of censure was 
moved, this time by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, who 
complained that the Government were doing nothing 
at all. Gladstone replied that Gordon had never asked 
for soldiers, and had started on the understanding that 
there was to be no invasion of the Mahdi's territory. 
On this occasion both Mr. Forster and Mr. Goschen 
severely criticised the Government from the Ministerial 
benches ; but the motion was rejected by a majority of 
twenty-eight. 

On June 28 a Conference of the Powers, with Lord 



9M LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Granville in the chair, met in London to anange the 
finances of Egypt. But on August 2 Gladstone had 
to tell the House of Commons that it had failed to 
arrive at any result, and on August 11 Lord North- 
brook was sent to examine the whole subject at Cairo. 

One important piece of philanthropic business, in 
which both parties concurred, distinguished the session 
of 1884. On February 22, Lord Salisbury moved for 
a Boyal Conmiission to inquire into the housing of the 
poor. To this the Government at once assented. Sir 
Charles Dilke was selected by Gladstone to be chair- 
man, among his colleagues being the Prince of Wales, 
Cardinal Manning, and Lord Salisbury himself. At 
the close of the debate on the Address in the House of 
Commons, Sir Henry Brand resigned the office of 
Speaker, and was succeeded by Mr. Arthur Peel. The 
Speaker is of course f ormaUy elected by the House ; but 
the nomination comes from the Prime Minister, and 
experience soon proved what an admirable choice 
Gladstone had made. 

On February 27, Lord Derby concluded with 
President Eruger, and two other Boer delegates, 
the Convention of London, which modified the Con- 
vention of Pretoria in favour of the Transvaal. 
The suzerainty of the Queen over the South African 
Bepublic was in terms abolished, though the precise 
effect of the clause which did so was afterwards 



EGYPT 205 

disputed. It was, however, provided that treaties 
between the Transvaal and all foreign Powers except 
the Free State should be subject to the approval of the 
British Government. The policy of this Convention 
did not come before the House of Commons till July 30, 
when the debate turned chiefly upon the sufficiency of 
the protection exercised by the paramount Power over 
the native tribes. Gladstone defended the settlement, 
and also the restoration of Cetewayo, which he de- 
scribed as the only possible amends for the iniquities 
of the Zulu war. The very important questions which 
afterwards arose between the British Government and 
the Boers were not then present to anyone's mind. 



906 LIPB OP W. B. GLADSTONE 



CHAPTER XVin 

THE GOUKTY FRANCHISE 

The Franchise Bill, which was the principal work 
of this session, and which, in the opinion of many 
Liberals, had been too long postponed, was introduced 
by Gladstone on February 29. Although his speech 
lasted for two hours, and was a luminous exposition of 
the whole subject, the purport of the Bill was extremely 
simple. He gave to householders and to lodgers in 
counties precisely the same suffirage enjoyed by the 
same classes in the boroughs. He also conferred anew 
right of voting, called the Service Franchise, on men 
who occupied houses and rooms in respect of their 
employment. Gladstone made a powerful appeal on 
behalf of the agricultural labourers, who would be chiefly 
affected by the measure, and whose good qualities as 
citizens he extolled. The Bill would, he calculated, 
enfranchise about two millions, raising the electorate 
from three millions to five. Dealing with the argument 
that the extension of the franchise should be accom- 
panied by a redistribution of seats, he said that to 
take this course would overload the Bill; but he 



THE COUNTY PBANCHISE 207 

admitted that franchise must be followed by redistri- 
bution. This was the point on which the Conservative 
Party, who did not oppose the principle of the Bill, 
elected to fight. On the second reading, which was 
moved on March 24, Lord John Manners, afterwards 
Duke of Butland, proposed an amendment to the effect 
that the Bill was incomplete without a readjustment 
of political power. He cited the precedent set by 
Lord Derby, then Lord Stanley, who, in 1866, had met 
in a similar way the Eeform Bill of Lord Eussell. 
The debate was a long one. Gladstone did not reply 
till April 7, when he pledged himself to bring in and, 
if he could, to carry, a Eedistribution Bill before 
Parliament was dissolved. The second reading of the 
Bill was carried on the same night by a majority of 
130. The most important amendment moved in Com- 
mittee (May 20) was one to exclude L:eland from the 
scope of the Bill. The Irish peasantry were, it was 
said, both poorer and less well educated than the 
English. The amendment, moved by Mr. Brodrick, 
was supported by Mr. W. H. Smith ; but the Oppo- 
sition were divided. Lord Eandolph Churchill ridi- 
culed what he called the 'Mud Cabin' objection, 
declaring that there was far less difference between the 
cottage of the English and the cabin of the Irish 
labourer than there was between the palatial residence 
of Mr. Smith and his own humble abode. Gladstone 



208 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

in his speech addressed himself especially to the Iridi 
members, and in an eloquent apostrophe assured them 
that the only weapon which wonld enable them to 
injure the British Empire wonld be the injustice of 
England. The amendment was rejected by 332 to 137, 
and the Bill was read a third time without a division on 
June 26. 

In the House pf Lords, however, the struggle was 
renewed with more serious results. Lord Cairns, on 
July 7, carried an amendment to the second reading, 
by 205 votes to 146, which had the effect of suspending 
the Bill until a scheme of redistribution was introduced. 
In the division on this amendment, Gladstone was sup- 
ported by Archbishop Benson and almost all the other 
bishops present. In the debate he found unexpected 
allies in the Duke of Argyll and Lord Wemyss. The 
refusal of the Lords to pass the Bill excited much 
popular feeling, and a procession of agricultural 
labourers, who marched through the streets of London 
with hop-poles on July 21, was received with sympathy, 
even among those not usually friendly to such demon- 
strations. Gladstone announced to a meeting of his 
party, and to the House of Commons on July 10, that 
Parliament would be prorogued as soon as possible, 
and that the Bill would be reintroduced in an autumn 
session. Lord Wemyss, taking advantage of the fact 
that the Lords had not technically thrown out the Bill, 



THE COUNTY EBANOHISB 209 

and that> therefore^ the second reading might be moved 
again, suggested, on July 17, that it should be passed, 
on the understanding that the autunm session would 
be devoted to redistribution. To this Gladstone, 
through Lord Granville, readily acceded. But Lord 
Salisbury declined, on the ground that the Lords would 
then be obliged to pass any Eedistribution Bill the 
Government brought in, on pain of an appeal to the 
new constituencies without any redistribution at all. 
An offer made by Gladstone, through Lord Granville 
and Lord Cairns, to Lord Salisbury, that if the Lords 
passed the Franchise Bill the Government would 
pledge themselves not to dissolve until a Eedistribution 
Bill had been passed, was equally unsuccessful. The 
prorogation of Parliament put an end to the Bill. 

During the recess, Gladstone paid a visit to his 
constituents, who received him, if possible, with 
greater enthusiasm than before. Speaking at Edin- 
burgh on August 30, he protested against the claim 
of the Lords to force a dissolution, or, as he put it, to 
pass capital sentence on the Commons. The next day 
he dealt with the Egyptian question, saying that it 
was honour and plighted faith which led to the 
occupation, as the Government were bound to carry 
out even the unwise engagements of their predecessors. 
At this time the conflict between the two Houses 
showed no signs of a peaceful solution. But it was 

p 



210 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

observed that while Gladstone was in Scotland he 
went to Balmoral, and that he was followed by the 
Duke of Bichmond, who soon afterwards received a 
visit from Lord Salisbury and Lord Cairns. 

On October 8 there appeared in the ' Standard ' what 
pmrported to be the Ministerial plan of redistribution. 
The pubUcation was of course surreptitious, and the 
authenticity of the document was denied. But it 
turned out to have been drawn up by a committee of 
the Cabinet, and, though not a iBnal scheme, it 
undoubtedly represented the general ideas of the 
Government, and the knowledge of their intentions 
suggested a way out of the difficulty. It took some 
time, however, to compose the quarrel. When Parlia- 
ment met on October 23, Gladstone said that the 
question was whether the representative or the unre- 
presentative majority was to prevail. The debates on 
the new Bill, which was the same as the old, were 
interrupted by an attack made, on October 30, by Lord 
Bandolph Churchill upon Mr. Chamberlain for organis- 
ing a riot at a Conservative meeting in Aston Park, 
near Birmingham, where Sir Stafford Northcote and 
Lord Bandolph himself were the speakers. Gladstone 
stoutly defended his colleague; but Lord Bandolph 
made a great impression on the House, and the 
majority for Mr. Chamberlain was only thirty-six. 
The second reading of the second Franchise Bill was 



THE COUNTY FEANOHISB 211 

moved on November 6, when Colonel Stanley, after- 
wards sixteenth Earl of Derby, repeated the amend- 
ment of Lord John Manners. Next day the Bill was 
read a second time by a majority of 140 ; no amend- 
ments were made in Committee, and on November 13 
it was back in the Lords. On the 17th the terms of 
the arrangement, now seen to be inevitable, were an- 
nounced by Gladstone and Granville. If the Lords 
passed the Franchise Bill at once, the Government 
would consult the leaders of the Opposition upon the 
details of their Eedistribution Bill before bringing it 
in, and would then proceed with it forthwith. On the 
18th the Lords read the Bill a second time without 
a division ; but the Committee was postponed for a 
fortnight, to give time for the proposed consultation. 
In this the Government were represented by Gladstone 
and Sir Charles Dilke; the Opposition by Lord 
Salisbury and Sir Stafford Northcote. An agreement 
was soon made, and, on December 1, Gladstone, in a 
business-like statement, explained the Eedistribution 
Bill. All boroughs whose population was below 
15,000 were to be merged in the counties. Boroughs 
whose population was under 50,000, and which had 
two members, were to lose one of them. London was 
to have thirty-seven additional members, though thft 
City would lose two out of four. The total number 
of members was to be raised from 652 to 670, England 

F 2 



212 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

receiving six of the eighteen, and Scotland twelve. 
The representation of Ireland was not to be touched. 
Boroughs and counties were to be divided into 
districts, each returning a single member, except the 
City of London and towns with a population between 
50,000 and 165,000. A boundary commission was at 
once appointed, of which Sir John Lambert, Secretary 
to the Local Government Board, was chairman. On 
December 4 this Bill was read a second time in the 
House of Commons, and on the 6th the Boyal assent 
was given to the Franchise Bill. Mr. Courtney, 
Financial Secretary to the Treasury, resigned his 
office, being opposed to single members and in favour 
of proportional representation. 

On January 8, 1885, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of 
Clarence, eldest son of the Prince of Wales, attained his 
majority. The Prime Minister, writing ' as the oldest 
among the confidential servants of her Majesty,* 
addressed to the young Prince an earnest and dignified 
letter upon this important epoch in his life, and upon 
his prospect of occupying at some distant date a throne 
which, he said, ^ to me at least appears the most illus- 
trious in the world.* The letter derives a special and 
melancholy interest from the premature death of the 
Duke of Clarence in January^ 1893. 



1 



213 



CHAPTEE XIX 

GLADSTONE AND GOBDON 

The weakest point in Gladstone's second Adminis- 
tration, and the one which led to their ultimate 
defeat, was their poUcy in Egypt, if. indeed, they can 
be said to have had an Egyptian policy at all. An 
expedition under Lord Wolseley had been sent, in 
the autumn of 1884, to rescue Gt)rdon and relieve 
Khartoum. But, on February 5, 1885, the terrible 
news reached London that Khartoum had fallen on 
January 26. There was no specific information of 
Gordon's fate, but the public rightly assumed that he 
had perished with the garrison which he had vainly 
attempted to defend. Lord Wolseley's expedition was 
just too late. A Cabinet was immediately summoned, 
and 7,000 men ordered to Suakim. At this crisis, on 
February 9, Lord Eosebery showed his chivalrous 
devotion to his chief by joining the Gt)vemment, 
which had just received such a formidable blow, as 
Lord Privy Seal and First Commissioner of Works. 
The salary attached to the sinecure office of Privy 
Seal was from this time abolished. Parliament met on 



214 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

February 19, and Gladstone announced that the power 
of the Mahdi was to be overthrown at Khartoum. 
He went on, in language which made a painful impres- 
sion even on his supporters, to argue that Gordon had 
not availed himself of the means of securing his per- 
sonal safety which were open to him. He afterwards 
explained that he meant no reproach to Gordon, but was 
merely defending the Government. On February 24, 
Sir Stafford Northcote moved a vote of censure on the 
Government for their failure to rescue Gordon, and 
Mr. John Morley proposed an amendment against the 
policy of overthrowing the Mahdi. Gladstone was 
thus attacked simultaneously on both sides. In reply, 
he pointed out that Gordon had never asked for British 
troops, and that he went to Khartoum on an entirely 
peaceful mission. As for the reconquest of the Soudan, 
he compared it to chaining the sands of the desert 
when the winds were howling over them. Acknow- 
ledging that the situation in Egypt was critical, he 
expressed a hope that they should not present to the 
world the spectacle of a disparaged Government and 
a doubtful House of Commons. On February 26 Sir 
Stafford Northcote's motion was rejected by the 
narrow majority of fourteen. But the significance of 
the division was somewhat diminished by the fact that 
forty Irish Home Eulers, who did not share the views of 
the Conservatives, voted with them against the Gt)vem- 



GLADSTONE AND GORDON 215 

ment. The Lords carried a vote of censure by 189 to 
68. Gladstone said very little against Mr. Morley's 
amendment, which, indeed, the Government, though it 
was defeated by a large majority, practically adopted. 
For, on May 11, Lord Hartington announced the 
abandonment of the Soudan ; and the Mahdi was not 
overthrown, though he soon afterwards died. 

Meanwhile, the relations between England and 
Eussia had become so unsatisfactory, that, on March 26, 
the reserves were called out, and within a month the 
two countries were on the brink of war. The difficulty 
arose out of an Anglo-Eussian Commission which had 
been appointed to settle the boundary between Eussia 
and Afghanistan. Sir Peter Lumsden, the British 
Commissioner, waited for his Eussian colleague, but 
the Eussian colleague did not come. On April 8, 
Gladstone informed the House of Commons that it 
was true the Eussians, under General Komaroff, 
had attacked an Afghan force and occupied Penjdeh, 
which was undoubtedly Afghan territory. This he 
described as an act of unprovoked aggression, and he 
admitted that the state of affairs was grave, though not 
hopeless. On April 21 he gave notice that he would 
ask for a vote of credit to the amount of eleven 
millions, of which four and a half would be for the 
Soudan. The remainder was intended for the Navy in 
case of a European war. The Prime Minister moved 



216 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

this vote, on April 27, in a speech which took the House 
by storm, and swept away all opposition. He dwelt on 
the country's obligations to the Ameer, which any 
Government would be bound to fulfil, and upon the 
forbearance which had been shown in dealing with 
Eussia. He closed an eloquent and powerful appeal to 
the patriotism of the House by declaring that, subject 
only to justice and to honour, he and his colleagues 
would continuously labour for the purposes of peace. 
When he sat down the vote was at once agreed to, amid 
the general cheering of the House. On May 4, Glad- 
stone was able to state that Great Britain and Bussia 
had accepted the arbitration of a friendly sovereign, who 
was afterwards announced to be the King of Denmark. 
But this arrangement was never carried out, and the 
matter was finally settled, after Gladstone left office, by 
direct negotiation. 

Once more, and only once, Egypt came before this 
Parliament. The financial mission of Lord North- 
brook, the First Lord of the Admiralty, who had left 
England for Cairo, in company with Lord Wolseley, 
on August 30, 1884, resulted in complete failure, and 
the financial position of the Egjrptian Government was 
desperate. In these circumstances the Powers jointly 
proposed a loan of 9,000,000!., and on March 26, 1885, 
Gladstone moved in the House of Commons a guarantee 
for the British share. He protested that the loan 



GLADSTONE AND GOEDON 217 

would give the Powers no right of controlling Egypt, 
which, in a strictly political sense, was trae. But 
objection was not unnaturally taken to the right of 
financial interference which it would involve, and the 
motion was only carried by a majority of forty-eight. 

On May 15, just before Parliament separated for 
the Whitsuntide recess, Gladstone suddenly announced 
that the Government would ask Parliament to renew 
some * valuable and equitable ' provisions of the Irish 
Crimes Act. This gave much dissatisfaction to the 
Eadicals, and Mr. John Morley gave notice that he 
would oppose any such measure. He had, however, 
no opportunity of doing so. The end was at hand. 
On Jime 8, Mr. Childers moved the second reading of 
the Budget Bill. The Budget was extremely unpopular. 
The expenditure of the country had run up, for the first 
time, to 100,000,0001!., then considered a gigantic sum, 
and, including the vote of credit, the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer had to estimate for a deficit of 15,000,0002. 
The Opposition attacked the Budget in form. The 
particular points which they chose to assail, and which 
were embodied in an amendment to the second reading 
by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, were the increased duties 
on beer and spirits, and the addition to the Succession 
Duty on land, which was not accompanied, as the Con- 
servatives argued it should have been, by a relief of 
local rates. Sir Michael, in his speech, suggested that 



218 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

the duty on tea might have been raised instead of the 
duty on alcohol, and of this rather unfortunate sugges- 
tion, Gladstone, in his reply, made the most. He called 
upon the House not to interfere with the principle of 
adjusting direct to indirect taxation. But the amend- 
ment was carried by 264 to 252, and the Government 
at once resigned. Six Liberals and thirty-nine Home 
Eulers voted with the Tories in this division, from 
which many Liberals abstained. On June 12, when 
Gladstone formally declared the resignation of himself 
and his colleagues, the Bedistribution Bill, which had 
not been seriously altered in Committee, was passed in 
the House of Lords, and thus the work of electoral 
reform was complete. On June 13 the Queen, who 
was at Balmoral, sent for Lord Salisbury. Lord Salis- 
bury objected to taking office in a minority without an 
assurance that the Liberal Party would not impede the 
remaining business of the session ; and on this subject 
he had a long correspondence with Gladstone, through 
the Queen, which was read by Gladstone in the House 
without comment on June 24. Lord Sahsbury, on 
June 17, in his first letter, pointed out that the Bedis- 
tribution Act, coupled with the Begistration Act, made 
it impossible to dissolve Parliament before November. 
He therefore thought that he had a right to ask for all 
the time of the House required to vote the supplies of 
the year, and for a promise that this business would 



GLADSTONE AND GOEDON 219 

not be obstructed. Gladstone replied on the same day 
that he had no intention of embarrassing the Govern- 
ment, but that it was not in his power to give any definite 
pledge. On Jime 18, Gladstone went to Windsor and 
had an audience of the Queen. On the same day, 
Lord Salisbury wrote to her Majesty that he could not 
accept ofi&ce except under the conditions he had pre- 
scribed ; but Gladstone refused to go beyond his former 
letter. On June 19, Lord Salisbury again asked that 
there should be precedence for financial business, and 
no opposition to an eightpenny Income Tax. Glad- 
stone again declined to give any specific undertaking ; 
but repeated, in more emphatic language, that he had 
no intention or desire to harass the Ministers of the 
Crown. With this. Lord Salisbury, at the earnest 
request of the Queen, had to be content, and on June 25 
he informed the House of Lords that he had under- 
taken to form an Administration. Making a precedent 
in English history, he became both Prime Minister 
and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The Queen 
offered Gladstone an earldom, but this he respectfully 
declined ; and on June 29 he wrote to his committee 
in Midlothian that he was prepared to contest the 
county once more. 

The new Ministers in the House of Commons 
having been re-elected, Mr. Bradlaugh, for the last 
time in this Parliament, presented himself to take the 



220 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

oath. Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, who had become 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Leader of the House 
of Commons, moved that it should reaffirm its resolu- 
tions of last year, which prevented Bradlaugh from 
taking the oath or coming within the precincts of the 
House. Gladstone supported an amendment, moved 
by Mr. Hopwood, in favour of dealing with the diffi- 
culty by legislation ; but this was rejected by 263 to 219, 
and Mr. Bradlaugh withdrew. With that the long 
controversy ended. For, after the General Election, 
Mr. Speaker Peel ruled that the new Parliament could 
take no cognisance of what had been done in the old, 
and that Mr. Bradlaugh, being one of the members 
returned for Northampton, had as much right to take 
the oath as anybody else. On July 7, Gladstone, in 
a speech which Lord Bandolph Churchill, now Secre- 
tary of State for India, described as magnanimous, 
promised to assist the new Government so far as he 
could. He commented, however, upon the declaration 
of Lord Carnarvon, the Lord-Lieutenant, that he was 
prepared to administer Lreland with the ordinary law, 
and remarked that whenever he himself acted in har- 
mony with the representatives of the Lish people, his 
doing so was made the subject of outrageous imputa- 
tions. The Government, he said, had incurred a grave 
responsibility; but it was theirs, and he left it with 
them. Writing to Mr. Childers, on July 16, he pointed 



GLADSTONE AND 60SD0N 231 

out that a Conservative Government had cast upon 
property, in the shape of additional Income Tax, the 
whole increase of expenditure which was to be defrayed 
out of revenue. 

Both sides had ample time to prepare for the 
General Election, and it was not till September 18 
that Gladstone issued his address to his constituents. 
In this document, which was of unusual length, he 
dealt, in a spirit of singular moderation, with a great 
variety of subjects. He expressed a hope that it wotdd 
be possible at an early date to withdraw British 
troops from Egypt ; he proposed a reform of the land 
laws, chiefly by the abolition of entails, and of all 
settlements which impeded the free exchange of land ; 
he pleaded for unity in the Liberal Party, and for the 
freedom of all sections who accepted its main prin- 
ciples to pursue their special objects. The disesta- 
bhshment of the English Church he relegated, in a 
famous phrase, to the dim and distant courses of the 
future. To Ireland he referred in some remarkable 
sentences, which attracted at the time less attention 
than they deserved. * In my opinion,' he said, * not 
now for the first time delivered, the limit is clear 
within which any desires of Ireland, constitutionally 
ascertained, may, and beyond which they cannot, receive 
the assent of Parliament. To maintain the supremacy 
of the Crown, the unity of the Empire, and all the 



222 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

authority of Parliament necessary for the conservation 
of that unity, is the first duty of every representative of 
the people. Subject to this governing principle, every 
grant to portions of the country of enlarged powers for 
the management of their own affairs is, in my view, not a 
source of danger, but a means of averting it, and is in 
the nature of a new guarantee for increased cohesion, 
happiness, and strength/ 

Gladstone's address was regarded by the Badicals as 
disappointingly tame, and it led Mr. Chamberlain to put 
forward more advanced proposals, which made him for 
a time the most popular of all speakers at Badical meet- 
ings. On October 2, Gladstone wrote to contradict a 
statement, made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that 
the late Government had decided to dispense with all 
coercion. He said that, on the contrary, they had deter- 
mined to retain the power of changing the venue, the 
right to summon special juries in criminal cases, and the 
clauses against boycotting. On November 9 he started 
for his campaign in Scotland, where he again dwelt upon 
the need for Liberal unity. Even in Scotland he disap- 
pointed many of his most ardent supporters by intimating 
that the time was not ripe for the disestablishment of the 
Scottish Church. As for Ireland, he held that she was 
entitled to the utmost measure of local self-government 
consistent with the integrity of the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Pamell declared that this was the most important 



GLADSTONE AND GOEDON 223 

deliverance on Irish affairs which had hitherto come 
from any British statesman, and called upon Gladstone 
to say particularly what his plan of Irish self-govern- 
ment was. Speaking at West Calder on November 17, 
Gladstone declined this challenge, saying that Ireland 
had not yet spoken, and that he awaited her verdict. 
On November 21 appeared a manifesto from the Irish 
Nationalist Party, signed by Mr. T. P. O'Connor, 
attacking the Liberals in violent terms, and urging all 
Irish electors in Great Britain to vote against those 
who had coerced their country. On November 23, 
Gladstone, turning aside, as he so readily did, from 
party politics, deUvered an address upon the historical 
associations of Edinburgh, to which he had just pre- 
sented a new market cross in place of the old one 
long since destroyed. On November 27 the result of 
the Midlothian election was declared. Gladstone's 
majority surpassed all expectation. He defeated Mr. 
Dalrymple, the Conservative candidate, by more than 
two to one, the numbers being for Gladstone 7,879, for 
Dalrymple 3,245. 

But the English elections had not gone altogether 
in favour of the Liberal Party. The fall of Khartoum, 
and the death of Gordon, weighed heavily on the public 
mind. Professional politicians, who never cared two 
straws for Gordon, alive or dead, made the most of 
them. But they seriously affected all classes of the 



224 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

community, Liberals as well as Conseryatives, and 
they midoubtedly turned many votes. In the English 
boroughs the strange doctrine of Fair Trade, whicli 
would have limited the policy of free exchanget by 
confining it to our intercourse with countries that 
were not Protectionist, found many supporters, and 
Conservtive, won in oon«,ueooe JLy Zs. 

The passage in these Midlothian speeches which 
was best remembered by Gladstone's opponents, and of 
which, after his conversion to Home Bule, they made 
most use, occurred in his speech at Edinburgh on 
November 9, when he called upon the country to 
return a Liberal majority which would be strong 
enough to act against a combination of CSonservatives 
and Pamellites. Even Liberals, he added, coxdd not 
be trusted to deal fairly with the Lish Question if it 
were in the power of the Irish members to turn them 
out at any moment. 



225 



CHAPTEE XX 

HOME RULE 

The final result of the election was a new House of 
Commons composed of 335 Liberals, 249 Conser- 
vatives, and 86 followers of Mr. Pamell. Thus, the 
Conservatives and the Pamellites combined, as they 
had been combined at the General Election, exactly 
balanced the Liberal Party in the House. Such a 
confused state of things^ had never before existed, 
and, as Parliament was not to meet till January, 
every possible form of speculation about the future 
was freely advanced. But, on December 16, there 
appeared, simultaneously in the 'Standard' and the 
'Leeds Mercury,* a paragraph which caused intense 
excitement. The purport of it was that Gladstone 
had made up his mind to propose a scheme of Home 
Eule, with an Irish Legislature sitting at Dublin, 
and an Irish Executive responsible for Irish affairs. 
Gladstone at once telegraphed that this statement was 
published without his knowledge or authority. But 
no stronger or more direct denial was forthcoming, and 
it was observed that Mr. Herbert Gladstone, one of the 

Q 



226 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

members for Leeds, had arrived there from Hawarden 
just before the appearance of the paragraph. 

This announcement of Gladstone's views on Home 
Eule, or what he called this speculation on them, took his 
former colleagues, most of whom he had not consulted, 
by surprise. Lord Hartington seized the first oppor- 
tunity of declaring that he knew nothing about them, 
and Mr. Chamberlain spoke as if they were new to him. 
But it afterwards transpired that, towards the end of 
December, Gladstone had, both in conversation and by 
letter, urged Lord Salisbury, through Mr. Balfour, to 
take up the Irish Question, stating his own opinion that 
it ought not to be made a subject of dispute between 
parties. Mr. Balfour replied in courteous language 
that Lord Salisbury acknowledged the friendly tone 
of Gladstone's communications, but that, as ParUament 
was to meet so soon, he did not think it desirable to 
forestall the statement of pohcy which he woxdd then 
have to make. To this Gladstone rejoined that he 
neither expected nor desired anything of the kind. 
He had made his offer and was satisfied. Li talking to 
Mr. Balfour, though not in his letters, Gladstone had 
expressed the belief that, unless the Irish problem were 
speedily solved, the party of violence and assassination 
would get the upper hand in Ireland. Parliament met 
on January 12, but the Address was not moved tiU the 
21st, and meaAwhile Gladstone refused to receive a 



HOME RULE 227 

deputation of Irish landlords headed by the Mayor of 
Belfast, who desired, as they said, relief from the 
tyranny of the Land League, on the ground that to do 
so would be encroaching on the functions of the 
Government. On January 21, speaking to the Address, 
he declared that Home Eule was not a question of 
party, and, turning to the new members, he reminded 
them that, as an * old Parliamentary hand,' it would not 
be wise for him to make a premature disclosure of his 
plans. But he significantly added that the mainte- 
nance of the Empire, though an excellent object, in which 
they were all agreed, was not enough to constitute a 
policy. The resignation of Lord Carnarvon, and the 
appointment of Mr. W. H. Smith to be Chief Secretary, 
with a seat in the Cabinet, were immediately followed 
by a notice from Sir Michael Hicks-Beach that a Bill 
would be introduced for the suppression of the National 
League. This notice, as Gladstone afterwards said, 
convinced him that the Conservatives would not deal 
with Home Eule, and that he must therefore take 
his own independent course. An opportunity for dis- 
placing the Government immediately occurred. On 
January 26, Mr. Jesse CoUings moved an amendment 
to the Address in favour of giving local bodies com- 
pulsory power to obtain land for allotments. This 
proposal, under the name of * Three Acres and a Cow,' 
had been very popular in the counties at the General 

q2 



228 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Election, and the name of Mr. Collings was generally 
associated with it. Gladstone spoke in support of the 
amendment, and so did Mr. Chamberlain. The 
Government, assisted by Lord Hartington and Mr. 
Goschen, opposed it, but it was carried against them 
by a majority of seventy-nine. 

Lord Salisbury at once resigned, and on February 1 
the Queen sent for Gladstone. A formidable split in 
the Liberal Party followed. Lord Hartington refused 
to join a Government pledged to consider favourably the 
question of Home Eule, and his example was followed 
by Mr. Goschen. Sir Henry James, though offered his 
choice of the Woolsack or the Home Office, also declined. 
It was known that Mr. Bright and Lord Selbome were 
hostile to any material change in the Act of Union. 
On the other hand, Gladstone had the invaluable aid 
of Lord Spencer, whose firm administration of Ireland 
had broken up the most dangerous and murderous con- 
spiracy that ever existed in that country. Sir Farrer 
Herschell, formerly Solicitor-General, became Lord 
Chancellor, and proved a tower of strength to his party 
in the House of Lords. Lord Eosebery's appointment 
to the Foreign Office gave general satisfaction. Lord 
Granville joined the Cabinet as Colonial Secretary. 
Mr. John Morley, who had the confidence of the Lish 
Nationalists, became Chief Secretary for Ireland, with a 
seat in the Cabinet, where Lord Aberdeen, the new Lord- 



HOME BULB 229 

Lieutenant, had no place. Gladstone, in his address 
to his constituents, reiterated the necessity of preserving 
Imperial unity, but urged at the same time that no 
half measures would suffice, and that, in dealing with 
Ireland, they must go to the source and seat of mischief. 
But the new Government were unlucky from the 
first. On February 8 there were serious riots in Trafalgar 
Square, due to the simultaneous meeting of unemployed 
workmen and of the Social Democratic Federation. 
The rioters marched, without resistance from the 
police, through Pall Mall into Piccadilly, where, and in 
South Audley Street, they smashed the windows of 
shops and pillaged their contents. Mr. Childers, who 
had only been Home Secretary for a few hours, was 
not really responsible for this catastrophe, which led to 
the resignation of Sir Edmund Henderson, the Com- 
missioner of Metropolitan Police. But it undoubtedly 
damaged the Government, whose prosecution of the 
Social Democratic leaders ended in a verdict of 
acquittal. On February 18, Parliament met again 
after the re-election of Ministers, but all that Gladstone 
would say at that time was, that there would be no 
penal legislation for Ireland. In the House of Lords, 
Lord Eosebery announced that England had joined 
the other Powers in preventing Greece from going to 
war with Turkey. This policy was not agreeable to 
the Eadicals, but it was not seriously challenged. 



280 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

When the Army Estimates were proposed, the Govern- 
ment came very near to defeat. Mr. Howard Vincent 
moved for an increase in the capitation grant to Volmi- 
teers. Gladstone's view of this motion, though consistent 
and characteristic, came upon most of his followers as a 
surprise. Taking the matter out of the hands of Mr. 
Campbell-Bannerman, the Secretary for War, he at once 
rose, and, speaking with great emphasis, declared that he 
would not take orders from the House of Commons to 
increase the national expenditure. The House might 
get a Minister who was ready to do so, but it would not 
be the Minister who stood at that table. The motion 
was only defeated by a majority of twenty-one. On 
March 26 another blow fell upon the Government. 
Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Trevelyan announced their 
resignation. Mr. Chamberlain, for whom higher office 
was expected, had entered the Cabinet with some 
reluctance as President of the Local Government 
Board. His place was taken by Mr. Stansfeld. Mr. 
Trevelyan, who had been Secretary for Scotland, was 
succeeded by Lord Dalhousie. Before he left the 
Government, Mr. Trevelyan, on February 25, had 
introduced a Bill for giving fair rents and fixity of 
tenure to the crofters in the Highlands of Scotland. 
This Bill, which received the Eoyal Assent on June 25, 
was the only legislation of any importance carried 
through the Parliament of 1885. 



HOME RULE 281 

On April 8, Gladstone brought in his Home Bule 
Bill. He began by observing that, in the opinion of 
the Cabinet, the question of Home Bule was closely 
connected with the question of the land, and that, but 
for the fear of overloading the measure, he would have 
dealt with them both at the same time. As it was, a 
Land Bill would almost immediately follow. He pro- 
ceeded to argue that the abandonment of coercion by 
the late Government had made it for the future 
impossible, and that an alternative must be found. 
The great difficulty of governing Ireland was, he said, 
that the law came to the Irish people in a 'foreign 
garb.' He dwelt at some length on the analogy of 
federal Home Bule in Sweden and Norway, and in 
Austria and Hungary. He emphatically protested 
that he had no intention of repealing the Union, for 
that would be to restore Gr'attan's Parliament, which 
was absolutely independent. He proposed, however, 
to create a legislative body, which would sit in Dublin, 
for dealing with affairs exclusively Irish. The Irish 
Eepresentative Peers would cease to sit in the House of 
Lords, and the Irish members would cease to sit in the 
House of Commons. Ireland would tax herself in all 
branches of revenue except Customs and Excise. The 
balance of Customs and Excise duties, after the dis- 
charge of Ireland's obligations to the British Govern- 
ment, would be paid into the Irish Exchequer. Certain 



232 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

powers would be reserved to the Imperial Parliament. 
These would be questions which affected the Crown, 
the Army, the Navy, and foreign or colonial relations. 
The Irish Legislature would be expressly prohibited 
from endowing any religious body. In that Legislature 
there would be two orders. The first order would 
consist of the twenty-eight Bepresentative Peers, and 
seventy-five other members elected every ten years on 
a property franchise of 200Z. a year. This body would 
have the right of delaying, but not of ultimately defeat- 
ing, Bills passed by the other and more strictly elective 
order. The second order would consist of the 103 
Irish members then sitting at Westminster, and 101 
others elected in the same way. The Viceroy would 
hold office permanently, and the disability of Catholics 
for the Viceroyalty would be removed. The present 
judges would have the right of retiring on full pensions, 
and all civil servants in Ireland would have the same 
right after two years. The Boyal Irish Constabulary, 
so long as it continued to exist, would remain under 
Imperial control. The actual cost of that force was 
then 1,500,000Z., but Ireland would not be called upon 
to pay more than 1,000,000Z. The remainder would 
be supplied from the Imperial Exchequer. Gladstone 
expressed a hope that the Boyal Irish, who were 
rather a military than a civil body, could be safely 
disbanded when Home Bule had had time to work. 



HOME RULE 233 

To the general expenditure of the United Kingdom, 
Ireland would contribute a proportion of one in twenty- 
six. At the conclusion of his speech, Gladstone referred 
to the complete success of Home Eule in the British 
Colonies, and drew from that fact the inference that it 
would be equally successful in Ireland. 

The next day, Mr. Chamberlain rose to explain the 
reasons for his resignation. But his speech was inter- 
rupted by Gladstone, when he attempted to deal with 
his objections to the Land Bill, which had not yet been 
introduced, and was known only to the Cabinet. This 
was the first public altercation between Mr. Chamberlain 
and his former chief. The debate lasted till April 13, 
when Gladstone replied. He then said that the exclusion 
of the Irish members, to which Mr. Chamberlain and 
other speakers had especially objected, as infringing the 
principle of no taxation without representation, was 
not vital to the Bill. Meeting the argument that the 
coimtry had given the Government no 'mandate' for 
Home Eule, he retorted that there was equally no man- 
date for coercion. He maintained that his plan held the 
field, and that, though it had many enemies, it had no 
rival. 

The Bill was then read a first time without a 
division ; and on April 16 Gladstone introduced the 
Land Purchase Bill. This he described as the second 
portion of the Ministerial scheme, and necessary for 



284 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

the maintenance of social order. England, he said, 
was responsible for the power of the Irish landlords, 
and for the mischief which some of them had done. 
It was, therefore, incumbent upon Parliament to give 
them an opportunity of withdrawing from the country 
if they did not like Home Eule. Accordingly, those of 
them who so desired would be bought out. The Irish 
Legislature would set up a State authority to be the 
instrument of purchase, and the requisite sum would 
be advanced through a three per cent, stock. All 
agricultural landlords would have the option of selling 
their estates, of which the occupiers would become the 
proprietors. But a tenant whose annual rent was less 
than 41, would not be compelled to buy, and in the 
congested districts the proprietor would be the State 
authority. The terms would be twenty years' purchase 
on judicial rents. Where no judicial rents had been 
fixed, the prices would be settled by the Land Court. 
The amount of the stock to be immediately issued 
would be 50,000,000Z., but it was possible that that sum 
might ultimately be more than doubled. The interest 
was to be collected by the State authority, and paid 
into the Treasury through a Eeceiver-General, who 
would be a British, not an Irish, officer. This Bill also 
was read a first time without a division ; but it went 
no further. During the interval between the first and 
second readings of the Home Bnle Bill, Gladstone 



HOME EULB 235 

wrote a letter to his constituents, in which he fully 
explained and justified his new Irish policy. He told 
them that he had received numerous expressions of 
sympathy from British colonists, and he characterised 
Ireland as the one failure of the British race. The 
Land Bill, he said, was an offer to the Irish landlords, 
which they must accept or reject; and he reminded 
them that the sands were running in the hour-glass. 
He predicted that there could be only one end to the 
controversy now raised, and, in a phrase which excited 
much resentment, he described his opponents as con- 
sisting of ' class and the dependents of class.' 

The debate on the second reading of the Home 
Eule Bill began on May 10, and was prolonged, with 
intervals, till June 7. Gladstone, in moving that the 
Bill be read a second time, intimated that he was not 
unwilling to reconsider the question of retaining the 
Irish members at Westminster, though he gave no 
hint of the manner in which this could be done. In 
a spirited peroration, he declared that the path of 
boldness was the path of safety, and he called upon 
his opponents to say what they considered was the 
alternative to Home Rule. Lord Hartington moved 
the rejection of the Bill in a powerful speech. It was 
assailed from both sides of the House, and, apart from 
Gladstone's own speeches, it was feebly defended, with 
the exception of a vigorous apology, in the classical 



236 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

sense of the term, from Mr. Morley, who spoke with 
gennine conviction and enthusiasm. The debate had 
to be interrupted on May 20, in order that Mr. Morley 
might propose the renewal of the Arms Act for 
Ireland. This gave Gladstone an opportunity for 
attacking Lord Bandolph Churchill on the subject of 
his recent declaration that if Home Bule were passed, 
Ulster would fight, and Ulster would be right. It was 
only, said the Prime Minister, the stability of our 
institutions which enabled such inflammatory utter- 
ances by public men to be made with impunity. The 
NationaUsts contented themselves with dividing against 
the Bill as a protest, and they were almost alone in the 
Division Lobby. The Bill passed rapidly through 
both Houses, and received the Boyal Assent on June 4. 
Meanwhile, the discussion of the Home Bule Bill 
dragged rather heavily, and the Government were 
accused by the Conservative Party of prolonging it in 
order to stir up public opinion in its favour. On May 
27 a very important meeting of Liberals was held at 
the Foreign Ofi&ce, to hear from Gladstone what course 
he proposed to take. He reminded them that there 
was one thing which even Parliament could not do, 
and that was to divest itself of its own powers. It 
must remain supreme, even if its supremacy were not 
expressly reserved in the Bill. As regarded the position 
of the Irish members, he was willing to consider any 



HOME RULE 237 

plan for their retention which did not impair the 
efl&ciency of the House of Commons, or interfere with 
the autonomy of Ireland, and he suggested that they 
might have the right to vote whenever it was proposed 
to alter the relative taxation of Ireland. He added, 
that if the Bill were read a second time, the Govern- 
ment would proceed no further with it during that 
session, and that, whether Parliament were prorogued 
or adjourned, the Cabinet would reconsider the subject 
during the recess. When the House of Commons met 
the next day, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, having failed 
to obtain any further information from the Govern- 
ment, moved the adjournment of the House. He 
protested against the Prime Minister's ambiguity, 
declared that the Home Eule Bill had become merely 
a measure for the continuance of the Government in 
office, and demanded to know whether, if the second 
reading were carried. Parliament would be adjourned 
or prorogued. Gladstone, in a vehement reply, 
denounced this as an unjustifiable motion, repeated 
what he had said at the Foreign Office about the Irish 
members, and said that the possible reconstruction of 
the Bill only referred to that particular clause which 
excluded them from Westminster. This speech was 
a great disappointment to those Liberals who hoped, 
like Mr. Chamberlain, that the Irish members would 
be definitely retained. The only other information 



238 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

extracted from the Government was, that if the Bill 
passed its present stage the Cabinet would advise the 
Queen to prorogue Parliament. The motion having 
been negatived, the debate on the second reading was 
resumed, and, at last, on June 7, Gladstone rose to 
reply. His speech was admitted, both by friends and 
foes, to be, from a rhetorical point of view, one of the 
finest he ever delivered. He began with an appeal to 
the history of Canada, which had been brought from 
active rebellion to enthusiastic loyalty by the con- 
cession of Home Bule. He predicted that, if this 
controversy were prolonged, the hideous features of 
the transactions by which the Union was accomphshed 
would inevitably be brought to light. He called upon 
the House to listen to the voice of Ireland, now, tor 
the first time, clearly heard. He implored them not 
to strengthen the party of violence by rejecting her 
constitutional demands, and, in a picturesque though 
faulty image, he pronounced that the ebbing tide was 
with those who resisted the Bill, and the flowing 
tide with those who supported it. As soon as he 
sat down, the division was called, and the Bill 
was rejected by a majority of thirty. The Ayes to 
the right were 343; the Noes to the left were 
313. Ninety-three Liberals voted against the Bill; 
only one Conservative, Sir Robert Peel, voted in its 
favour. The Irish Nationalists were, of course, unani- 



HOME BULE 239 

mous. Mr. Pamell, indeed, had received Gladstone's 
proposals with characteristic coldness, and had severely 
criticised the financial clauses ; but he accepted the 
scheme as, upon the whole, satisfactory, while Mr. 
Dillon and Mr. O'Brien gave it a much warmer welcome. 
On June 8 the Cabinet met and decided that they 
would recommend her Majesty to dissolve Parhament. 
The Queen, not unnaturally, objected to a second disso- 
lution within seven months. But Gladstone persisted, 
holding that any other course would be * showing the 
white feather,' and the Queen gave way. On June 14 
Gladstone issued his address to his constituents, in which 
he warned them that the only alternative to Home Eule 
was the renewal of the coercive legislation which had 
been tried throughout the century and had utterly failed. 
He described the union with Ireland as merely a paper 
union, which had been consummated by force and fraud. 
In conclusion, he argued that the only way to restore 
the efficiency of the Imperial Parliament was to give 
Irishmen the management of their own affairs. On 
June 17 he left London for Scotland, where he was 
received with apparently unabated warmth. Speaking 
in Edinburgh, on the 21st, he said that the Land Pur- 
chase Bill was an offer to the Irish landlords, that they 
had not accepted it, and that, so far as he was con- 
cerned, it would not be renewed. On his return from 
Scotland he spoke at Manchester on the 25th, and, 



mi UTE <jy W. E. GLjftDBTOKE 



^i^ipttif.'u.mi^: iih«:- iibibiiit}' ^o be liaxfid froEtn liie ai^Ha± no 
votiv^-, Jtk<r )fa»^ar>id Lift; audieDfie thsit, under 1d:uB noDom- 
i^ucuacl BJJl, Ixdl^siflad wcrold be beSi^d id FjudiuEDEBDit 
Yifh^^xt-:\HT hnx onvu mtereste ir«re aflected. The XKXit; 
^y i^^iuuLTA^ji w«« £c,«i23&IljdiffldlTad,ftDD.d€aa^ ttiie SBttfti^ 
i^j a f};xaJ ]^^e»wb ai Lavetpool, be TnaimtJimpil it to be 
hi^jrisoiMy trim ihski^ in all great iiui4l£rs cf poliicj, the 
<:hi^^^Aif^ \^ baetJ wroo^ while tbe vo^ases had been 
f'iglU. Ijel tbx:tii^ h<:i said^ do away ^th the one esoep- 
iiam U) ii^t aniv^TKal loyalty of the British En^iie, 
whix;h t'/mUl not afford to have a Poland within it. 

Tti/^ result of tfi<^ GcHieral Election waB disastnms to 
1 (/mi/t^ Jiule, l^lu^c were returned 316 ConsenrabTeSy 
7H i^i(>4;ral Uri ioDi«ti», a« those Liberals who left Mr. 
iiUnhUma callijd ilunnmlveH, 191 Liberals who adhered 
to hiuif and 85 PamelliteB as before. This gave tbe 
Com^trvativiTjM and Liberal Unionists combined a work- 
ing nmjority of 1 13, 



241 



CHAPTEE XXI 

THE PABNBLLITE ALLIANCE 

On July 20 the Cabinet met for the last time, and 
agreed to resign at once. The Queen sent for 
Lord Salisbury, who invited Lord Hartington to join 
him, and even offered to support a Liberal Unionist 
Administration. But the Liberal Unionists showed 
their disinterestedness by refusing ofi&ce, and Lord 
Sahsbury formed a purely Conservative Ministry. 
All idea of retirement seemed to have vanished from 
Gladstone's mind. He had been returned without 
opposition for Midlothian, and he at once resumed the 
lead of the Liberal Party. He and his followers entered 
into an open and avowed alliance with Mr. Pamell and 
the Irish Nationalists, for the purpose of carrying Home 
Eule. At the meeting of the new Parliament on 
August 5, Gladstone was in his place to second the re- 
election of Mr. Peel as Speaker. When the Address was 
moved, on the 19th, he expressed his firm and growing 
conviction in the soundness of his own policy. He was 
extremely glad, he said, to find that the Government 
proposed no Coercion Bill, though, so far as he could see, 

B 



242 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

there was more reason for one then than there had been 
in January. He concluded by entreating the Govern- 
ment not to delay the annoimcement of the manner in 
which they intended to deal with the Irish Question. 
Lord Eandolph Churchill, who had become Chancellor 
of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons, 
replied that Sir Eedvers Buller would be sent to restore 
order in Kerry and the adjoining districts, where alone 
it was seriously disturbed, and that two Eoyal Com- 
missions would be appointed — one upon the Lish land 
laws, and the other upon the best means for developing 
the material resources of Ireland. Mr. Pamell moved 
an amendment to the Address, calling for the revision 
of judicial rents on account of the fall in agricultural 
prices. For this Gladstone declined to vote, although 
he entreated the Government to take the matter up 
themselves. 

Immediately after this second speech, Gladstone 
went for a short holiday to Bavaria, and visited at 
Munich his venerable friend Dr. DoUinger, the excom- 
municated leader of the Old Catholics. On the eve of 
his departure appeared an interesting pamphlet, in 
which he explained, among other things, how he came 
to take up Home Eule. The first part of it, called the 
* History of an Idea,' was autobiographical. He had 
never, he wrote, publicly condemned Home Eule in 
principle, nor pronounced it to be at variance with 



THE PABNBLLITB ALLIANCE 243 

the Constitution. But not before 1885 had there been 
an unequiyocal demand for it in Ireland. So long ago 
as 1874, in the time of Mr. Butt, he had recognised 
and acknowledged that Home Eule did not mean 
separation. In 1880 he had complimented Mr. Shaw 
upon the honourable and straightforward manner in 
which he had dealt with it ; while in 1881, when he 
received the freedom of the City at the Guildhall, he 
had told the citizens of London that he should hail 
establishment of local government in Ireland with the 
satisfaction and delight. Again, in 1882, he had made 
in the House of Commons a speech, which Mr. Plunket, 
without remonstrance from him, had declared to be an 
argument for Parliamentary inquiry into the subject. 
In the second part of his pamphlet, called ' Lessons of 
the Elections,' Gladstone analysed the position of the 
majority. He pointed out that, while the proportion of 
Liberal Unionists to Liberals was» among the Peers, 
five-sixths, it was, among the working classes, no more 
than one-twentieth. He showed that Ireland, Scotland, 
and Wales were all in favour of Home Bule, England 
alone being against it. Exaggerated apprehensions of 
the consequences to which the Land Purchase Bill 
would lead were, he believed, the real cause of his 
defeat, and that Bill was altogether dead. Finally, he 
contended that Home Bule was, in its essence, a Con- 
servative policy. 

B 2 



244 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Gladstone returned from Bavaria in time to support 
Mr. Pameirs Land Bill, for which the Government 
found time, and of which the second reading was 
moved on September 20. This Bill proposed, in sub- 
stance, that evictions should be suspended in Ireland 
on payment of one-half the current rent with arrears, 
and that leaseholders should be brought under the 
Act of 1881. Li his speech for this Bill, Gladstone 
contended that by appointing a Boyal Commission the 
Government had admitted the existence of the hard- 
ships which Mr. Pamell sought to redress. The 
Liberal Unionists, however, strongly opposed the Bill, 
the Government declined to accept it, and it was 
thrown out by a majority of 95. The inamediate 
consequence of this vote was the Plan of Campaign, 
which was formed by Mr. Dillon, Mr. O'Brien, and 
others, in the month of October. The gist of this Plan, 
from which Mr. Pamell always held aloof, was that on 
any estate where reasonable reductions of rent were 
refused, the tenants should pay what the landlord 
would not take into a common fund, and that trustees 
should keep it in their own hands until the landlord 
came to terms. On October 2, Gladstone received, at 
Hawarden, an Irish deputation, which conferred upon 
him the freedom of four towns. In reply he quoted 
O'Connell's phrase about the two islands being united 
by the golden link of the Crown, and repeated that 



THE PAENELLITE ALLIANCE 245 

Home Eule was opposed to separation. For himself, 
he said, he remained at the head of the Opposition 
only to carry Home Eule, and he would at any 
moment retire into private life if that would conduce 
to the success of the movement. 

The year 1887 opened with an attempt to reconcile 
the conflicting elements of the Liberal Party, which 
came to be known as the Eoimd Table Conference. 
Gladstone, who had been favourably impressed by a 
speech of Mr. Chamberlain's, at Birmingham, just before 
the close of the previous year, wrote, on January 2, a 
public letter to Sir William Harcourt, in which he 
suggested that representatives of the Home Eulers 
and Liberal Unionists might meet and endeavour to 
remove the causes of difference between them. He was 
of opinion that there should be no concealment in the 
matter, and that the fact of the consultation should be 
made generally known. Lord Hartington, without 
expressing disapproval of this proposal, declined himself 
to take part in the proceedings. But Mr. Chamber- 
lain accepted the invitation, and it was agreed to meet 
at Sir Wilham Harcourt's house. The Chairman was 
to be Lord Herschell. Sir William Harcourt and Mr. 
Morley were to attend on behalf of Gladstone, while 
the Unionist delegates were to be Mr. Chamberlain and 
Sir George Trevelyan. Mr. Chamberlain thought it 
would be better to postpone the consideration of Home 



246 LIFE OF W. E. QLADSTONE 

Bule, and to take up other Irish subjects, on which 
there was more likelihood of harmony. But Glacbtoiie 
was strongly in favour of deahng at once with the 
principal question, and this course was adopted. The 
Conference held its first meeting on January 13, and 
sat for three consecutive days, when it was adjourned 
till after the meeting of Parliament, apparently with 
every hope of coming to terms. But when it re- 
assembled, on February 14, the expected progress was 
not made. On February 25 there appeared, in a news- 
paper called ' The Baptist,' a letter from Mr. Ghamb6]> 
lain, in which he asked why the Welsh people should 
have to wait for disestablishment and other reforms in 
deference to the disloyal Irish. This letter gave great 
offence to many Liberals, who regarded it as incon- 
sistent with the honourable truce to be observed while 
the Conference lasted. Mr. Chamberlain, however, 
declared that he was not the aggressor, and that he had 
been attacked before he repUed. On March 9 he 
intimated to Sir William Harcourt that he should 
attend no more, and the Conference broke up. Sir 
G^rge Trevelyan soon afterwards returned to the 
Liberal Party, but Mr. Chamberlain continued to act 
with the Liberal Unionists under Lord Hartington. 

Meanwhile, on January 27, Parliament had met. 
Gladstone's first speech was an eloquent and touching 
tribute to his old friend and former secretary, the Earl 



THE PARNELLITE ALLIANCE 247 

of Iddesleigh, better known as Sir Stafford Northcote, 
whose death immediately followed his rather uncere- 
monious removal from the Foreign Ofl&ce. While 
fully acknowledging Lord Iddesleigh*s sagacity and 
courage, Glfiidstone dwelt chiefly upon his sympathetic 
courtesy, and afi&rmed that gentleness was the founda- 
tion of his character. In the debate on the Address, 
Gladstone strongly supported the plea for economy 
made by Lord Bandolph Churchill, who had resigned 
the Chancellorship of the Exchequer rather than 
assent to what he regarded as extravagant estimates for 
the Army and Navy. He also criticised the arrange- 
ment by which the Prime Minister was also Foreign 
Secretary, declaring that the two duties could not be 
adequately discharged by one man. In reply to a 
challenge that he should say what he thought about 
the Plan of Campaign, he answered that, in his opinion, 
it was a direct consequence of the vote by which the 
House of Commons had rejected Mr. Pamell*s Land 
Bill in the previous September. While not maintain- 
ing its legality, he compared it with the praiseVorthy 
efforts made by the Chief Secretary, Sir Michael Hicks- 
Beach, to exercise pressure upon the landlords within 
the law, which had themselves been condemned from 
the Bench as illegal by Chief Baron Palles. 

On February 21, Mr. Smith, who had succeeded Lord 
Bandolph Churchill as Leader of the House, moved the 



248 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

first of his new rules, which established the closure in 
a novel form. This rule provided that, instead of the 
Speaker declaring the evident sense of the House to 
be in favour of an immediate division, any member 
might move the closure, which was forthwith to be put 
unless the Speaker or the Chairman of Committees 
withheld his assent. Gladstone took the rather subtle 
objection that this plan would be less consistent than 
the old one, for which he himself was responsible, with 
the impartiality of the Chair. The motion was debated 
at great length, and was not finally adopted till March 
18. On the 17th, at a dinner of Yorkshire Liberals, 
Gladstone declared that Ireland blocked the way, and 
that until the obstacle was removed no other business 
could be done. On the 24th, when the Government 
demanded precedence for the Crimes Bill, he pointed 
out that the House did not know what the Bill was, 
and that they had had no Ministerial statement of the 
grounds for introducing it. He also dwelt upon what 
he called the grave and menacing policy of carrying 
coercion by closure. The motion was, however, 
adopted, and the Bill was brought in by Mr. Balfour, 
who had succeeded Sir Michael Hicks-Beach as Chief 
Secretary. It defined the ofitence of intimidation, 
commonly called boycotting, and made it triable by two 
resident magistrates, without a jury, who should have 
power to inflict a sentence of six months* imprisonment 



THE PABNELLITE ALLIANCE 249 

with hard labour. It enabled the Lord-Lieutenant to 
proclaim any association as illegal, and thereupon such 
association was to be dissolved. It differed from all 
similar measures in the past by fixing no date at which 
it was to come to an end. Gladstone vehemently 
attacked this permanent form of coercion, and also 
another proposal, which was subsequently abandoned, 
to try Irishmen in London for offences committed 
in Ireland. On April 19, speaking at the Eighty Club, 
he described the Nationalists as the Constitutional 
Irish Party, and dissected the policy of the Liberal 
Unionists, which he called the * Grammar of Dissent.* 
From this time forward he may be said to have entirely 
identified himself with the cause of Home Bule and 
with the Irish movement for obtaining it by Parlia- 
mentary means. Lideed, he seldom spoke at this 
period upon any other subject. But on April 25, in 
the debate on Mr. Goschen's first Budget, he renewed 
his protests against the wastefuhiess of grants in aid, 
and deprecated Mr. Goschen's interference with the 
Sinking Fund. At Singleton Abbey, on June 4, after 
expressing sympathy with the cause of Welsh National- 
ism, he put forward another proposal for dealing with 
the Irish members in a Home Bule Bill. Beversing 
a suggestion made by Mr. Whitbread, he held that 
they might be excluded from Parliament for a time 
only, until they had established self-government on a 



250 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

sound footing. At Cardiff, on June 7, he appealed to 
the judgment of the civilised world as having been 
pronounced in favour of his policy. A month later, he 
moved the rejection of the Grimes Bill on the third 
reading, dwelling especially on the novelty of its 
form, and on the weakness of the case set up for it as 
compared with previous statistics of Irish crime. Ad- 
dressing his colleagues in the representation of Scot- 
land at the National Liberal Club, on July 16, he 
expressed confidence that, whatever might be the final 
form of Home Bule adopted for the British Islands, 
Scotland would be able to hold her own. 

As soon as the Crimes Bill had been passed, the Lord- 
Lieutenant proclaimed the National League to be an 
illegal association. On August 19, Gladstone moved an 
Address to the Crown, praying that this proclamation 
should be rescinded. In his opinion the League was a 
legitimate combination, and there was a form of boy- 
cotting known in O'Connell's days as exclusive dealing, 
which, not being accompanied by force, ought not to 
be treated as a crime. He appealed to the testimony 
of Sir Bedvers Buller, who had said that in some parts 
of Ireland the tenants regarded the League as their 
only friend. The Address was, however, rejected by 
272 to 194. 

During the recess, on October 4, Gladstone received 
at Hawarden a Liberal deputation from Kidderminster, 



THE PABNELLITE ALLIANCE 251 

and cited, as an instance of the effect produced in 
England by absolute government in Ireland, the 
domiciliary visit of the London police to a Socialist 
named Lyons, who had been asked, by the authority 
of Sir Charles Warren, the Commissioner, whether 
he intended to speak at a Socialist meeting. Mr. 
Lyons was, he held, fully entitled to show the police 
the door. On the 18th, addressing the Liberal Con- 
ference at Nottingham, Gladstone attacked the Irish 
Government for their conduct at Mitchelstown. A 
meeting had been held at Mitchelstown and police- 
men were sent to it as reporters. They had not asked 
for admission, but endeavoured to force their way 
through the crowd to the platform. The result was 
a serious affray, in which two lives were lost ; and a 
coroner's jury found a verdict of wilful murder against 
the chiefs of the police. The Government, however, 
persisted that the police had done no more than their 
duty, having fired in self-defence, and would not allow 
them even to be put upon their trial. The affair ex- 
cited great indignation among Liberals, and ' Bemember 
Mitchelstown ' became a popular cry. Speaking again 
at Nottingham, on the 19th, Gladstone, for the first 
time, gave his adhesion to the principle of one man 
one vote, and, in language bitterly denounced by his 
opponents, intimated that Scottish or Welsh dises- 
tablishment would have precedence according to the 



252 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

degree of support received from each country by Home 
Bule. On this occasion he was led into an unfortunate 
error, for which, after he had been threatened with an 
action for libel, he apologised. He charged an Irish 
land agent, named Dopping, on information supplied to 
him, with having, during an eviction, pointed a rifle at 
a boy. Mr. Dopping proved that the rifle was unloaded, 
and therefore could have done no harm. It should be 
added that, as afterwards explained by Sir Charles 
Bussell in the House of Commons, Gladstone had, 
under his advice, determined to omit the passage from 
the authorised version of his speech before there was 
any talk of a lawsuit. 

At Derby, on October 20, Gladstone recommended 
a union of hearts as a substitute for a union of paper ; 
and at Bipon, on the 25th, he afiGirmed himself to be 
simply a Liberal, repudiating with almost equal energy 
the two epithets of Separatist and Gladstonian. But 
while incessant in his attacks upon Irish administration, 
he did not always oppose the Government. On Novem- 
ber 14, referring to the prohibition by the Home Secre- 
tary of a meeting summoned for Trafalgar Square, he 
said that if the Ministers of the Crown, under advice, 
declared the use of the Square for such a purpose not to 
be a legal right, their decision ought to be respected and 
obeyed. On December 28, Gladstone left England for 
Italy, and, speaking at Dover, strongly protested against 



THE PABNBLLITB ALLIANCE 253 

the imprisonment of Mr. Sullivan, the Lord Mayor of 
Dublin, for whose character he expressed the highest 
esteem. He returned from Italy on February 8, 1888, 
the day before the meeting of Parliament ; and on the 
Address, in a conciliatory speech, assured the Govern- 
ment that he had no wish to renew the embittered 
combats of the previous year. He gave, however, a 
strong support to Mr. Parnell's amendment against 
Mr. Balfour's administration, referring at some length 
to the interview between Lord Carnarvon and Mr. 
Pamell, when the former was Lord-Lieutenant of 
Ireland. This interview, held in the summer of 1885, 
was strictly private, and known at the time only to 
Lord Salisbury. Lord Carnarvon, while admitting 
that he had consulted Mr. Pamell about the future 
government of Ireland, denied that he had any 
authority, either from the Prime Minister or from the 
Cabinet, to make any promise of Home Bule. Mr. 
Pamell, on the other hand, repeatedly declared in 
positive language that Lord Carnarvon, whom he under- 
stood to be representing the Government, had offered 
for his acceptance a scheme of Home Bule, with 
special power for the Irish Legislature to protect Irish 
manufactures. Proceeding to deal with the reduction 
of crime in Ireland, Gladstone said it was due not to 
penal laws, but to the Land Act of 1887, which gave 
relief to leaseholders ; and, in regard to the coercive 



254 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

policy of the Cabinet, he asked ' Is it wise, is it hope- 
ful, is it conservative ? ' 

When the remainder of the new roles, which had 
been dropped the previous session, were brought up, 
Gladstone supported the proposal that there should be a 
Standing Committee for Scotland. This was defeated ; 
but such a committee was afterwards appointed under 
a Liberal Administration. On March 12 he expressed 
entire approval of Mr. Goschen's scheme for converting 
Consols from 3 per cent, to 2|, and, ultimately, to 2J. 
On April 11, at the National Liberal Club, he called 
upon the Government, if they would not have Home 
Bule, at least to produce their Local Government Bill 
for Ireland. When the second reading of the Budget 
Bill was moved, on the 23rd, Gladstone proposed an 
amendment for equalising the Succession Duty on real 
and personal property ; but this was defeated by 310 
to 217. The next day Mr. Justin McCarthy moved the 
adjournment of the House in order to protest against 
the increase, on appeal, by the County Court judges in 
Ireland, of sentences passed under the Crimes Act by 
resident magistrates. Gladstone, premising that the 
right of appeal had been given in favour of the accused, 
denounced this practice as ' mean and miserable.' 
Instances of similar acts were quoted from the time of 
Lord Spencer ; but the protest was effective, and the 
practice was abandoned. On May 9, in receiving an 



THE PARNELLITE ALLIANCE 255 

address from Nonconformist ministers at the Memorial 
Hall, Gladstone pronounced the Government to be 
really responsible for the Plan of Campaign. In the 
House of Commons, on June 18, he had the melancholy 
duty of expressing the universal regret caused by the 
death of the Emperor Frederick, in whom, he said, 
there was a singular union of wisdom with virtue and 
with valour. 

Supporting Mr. Morley's motion, on the 26th, against 
alleged abuses of the Crimes Act, Gladstone pleaded 
for the special treatment of political prisoners, and 
strongly condemned the indignity put upon Mr. Dillon 
by making him wear prison dress. On the 27th the 
Channel Tunnel Bill came up for second reading. 
Gladstone spoke in favour of it, making light of danger 
from France, and pointing out that Lord Palmerston's 
Government, which was said to have opposed the 
tunnel, merely declined to give a financial guarantee. 
But on this subject he did not carry the whole of his 
own party with him, and the Bill was rejected by 307 
to 165. On June 30, speaking at Hampstead, Gladstone 
described the Plan of Campaign as an evil, but a 
smaller evil than leaving people to die of starvation. 
On July 18, at a dinner given by Sir Wilfrid Lawson 
to the Liberal members for Northumberland and 
Westmorland, he dealt with the charges made by the 
* Times * against Mr. Pamell, which afterwards proved 



256 UFB OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

to be false. He argued that Mr. Pamelly as a member 
of the Honse of Commons, was entitled to the Parlia- 
mentary inquiry, for which he asked, into the anthen^ 
ticity of discreditable letters imputed to him, which he 
had denounced as forgeries. On August 20 he turned 
to the subject of political prisoners, pointing out that, 
of 85 Irish Nationalists in Parliament, 21 were in gaol ; 
and declared that even King Bomba distinguished 
politicians from felons. This was shown to be not 
strictly accurate ; but Gladstone maintained that there 
were very few exceptions, and that, as a rule, the dis- 
tinction was made even in the prisons of Naples nearly 
forty years before. 

Gladstone was due at Wrexham on September 4 to 
address the Welsh Eisteddfod. He caused some dis- 
may among the Welsh Conservatives by afterwards 
accepting an invitation to speak at a political meeting 
at the same place within a few hours. But he fulfilled 
both engagements, and told his supporters that the only 
example he had seen at Naples of a political prisoner 
treated like a felon was Poerio, who had been convicted 
of high treason. At the Eisteddfod he dwelt on Shake- 
speare's fondness for Wales, which seems a harmless topic ; 
but it did not save him from the accusation of fostering 
Welsh particularism. On November 5 he met the Liberal 
Two Thoussknd at Birmingham, and condemned Mr. 
Balfour as an absentee Minister. He concluded his 



THE PARNELLITE ALLIANCE 257 

speech with a fervent and eloquent prayer for the recovery 
of Mr. Bright, who was seriously, and, as it proved, 
fatally ill. On the 7th he spoke in Bingley Hall, and pre- 
scribed conciliation instead of coercion as the remedy for 
the state of Ireland. 

On the 19th, Parliament met for an autumn session, 
and the Government introduced a Bill for extending 
the advances to Irish tenants under Lord Ashbourne's 
Purchase Act from five millions to ten. Gladstone 
opposed the Bill, on the double ground that it failed 
to deal with the urgent question of arrears, and that 
it would stand in the way of equitable arrangements 
between landlord and tenant. On this occasion two 
of his younger followers. Sir Edward Grey and Mr. 
Haldane, dissented from him, holding that the creation 
of a peasant proprietary was of the first importance for 
Ireland. The only other subject upon which Gladstone 
spoke during these short sitti^gs was the proposed expe- 
dition to Suakim, in discussing which he seconded Mr. 
Morley's protest against any attempt to conquer the 
Soudan, which, however, the Gpvemment disavowed. 

On December 15, at a meeting of Londou Liberals in 

t 

Limehouse, Gladstone finally abandoned all hope of 
Liberal reunion. Liberal Unionists, he said, were 
now the most effective foes of the Liberal Party. 

Parliament met on February 21, 1889, and, on 
March 1, Gladstone had an opportunity of reviewing 

s 



258 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

the administration of Ireland, on an amendment to the 
Address, moved by Mr. Morley, which condemned it as 
oppressive and mijust, aUenating the loyalty, and im- 
pairing the rights, of her Majesty's Irish subjects. 
Admitting that there had been a diminution of serious 
crime, Gladstone attributed it to the renewed hopes of 
the Irish people for the restoration of their self-govern- 
ment. On the other hand, there was no decline in 
legitimate combination, against which he argued that 
the so-called Grimes Act was really directed. The 
amendment was defeated by a majority of seventy-nine. 

On March 27 in this year occurred the death of 
John Bright, whose condition had for some time been 
hopeless. All parties in the House of Commons, includ- 
ing the Irish Nationalists, joined in a sympathetic eulogy 
of the great orator. But no speech was more impres- 
sive than Gladstone's. It was characteristic that he 
singled out, as worthy of special praise, the moral eleva- 
tion of character which led Mr. Bright and Mr. Cobden 
to sacrifice their popularity, and even the influence 
over pubhc opinion, which they so highly valued, by 
opposing what they regarded as the injustice of the 
wars with Bussia and with China. 

On April 4, Gladstone protested against the new 
poUcy by which the Navy Estimates, or, rather, so 
much of them as were required for the proposed 
addition to the Navy, were spread over five years, thus 



THE PAENELLITB ALLIANCE 259 

destroying, or at all events diminishing^ the annual 
control of the House of Commons upon expenditure, 
and increasing the power of the House of Lords. 
On April 9, following his usual practice, Gladstone 
refused to vote for Dr. Clark's abstract resolution in 
favour of Home Eule for Scotland. Eetuming to 
the subject of Ireland, he spoke, on May 6, about the 
arrest of Mr. Conybeare, a member of the House, 
and a young Irish gentleman named Harrison, for 
cheering prisoners in the custody of the Irish police. 
Eeprobating this as a high-handed act of an abused 
authority, he said that the police were less to blame 
than the Ministers whose speeches encouraged them 
to such acts. 



s2 



260 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 



CHAPTER XXII 

PABNELLISM AND GBIME 

The Famell Coimnission had begun its sittings on 
October 17, 1888, but the interest in them did not 
reach the highest point till just before the meeting of 
Parliament, in February, 1889, when Eichard Pigott, 
who had forged the letters attributed by the ' Times ' 
to Mr. Parnell, broke down in the witness-box, con- 
fessed his crime, absconded, and committed suicide. 
The effect of this disclosure was inmiense, and Parnell 
became for a time a hero of the Liberal Party. On 
his first appearance during the session all the Liberals 
in the House rose to receive him. Lord Spencer con- 
gratulated him at a dinner of the Eighty Club, Mr. 
Morley attended a meeting in his company at St. 
James's Hall, and, on May 22, when the Women's 
Liberal Federation assembled in the Grosvenor Gallery, 
Gladstone took the opportunity of publicly shaking 
hands with him. 

At this time Gladstone seldom spoke on other than 
Irish subjects. But on May 28 he strongly protested 
in the House of Commons against the refusal of the 



PARNELLIBM AND CRIME 261 

Government to let the British Ambassador attend the 
c*entenary of the Eevolution at Paris. This he called 
an error of judgment of a very gross kind, and just as 
unreasonable as if the French had declined to take part 
in celebrating the English Eevolution of 1688. 

Gladstone spent the Whitsuntide recess this year in 
making a political tour through the counties of Devon 
and Cornwall. Leaving London on June 5, he spent a 
few days with Sir William Harcourt in the New Forest, 
and on the 8th deUvered a long speech at Weymouth. 
On this occasion he pointed out that foreigners habi- 
tually coupled the treatment of Lreland by England with 
the treatment of Poland by Eussia ; and he reminded 
his audience that one of the solemn undertakings given 
to Ireland at the time of the union was the promise of 
equal laws. Speaking on June 12, at St. Austell, he 
declared himself in favour of federal Home Eule for 
the United Kingdom, which came to be known by the 
. cant phrase of Home Eule all round. Turning to the 
topic of disestablishment, he pronounced that, as far 
as England was concerned, he could not expect to have 
anything to do with it; but he considered that, in 
Scotland and Wales, the question was ripe for settle- 
ment, as in both countries there was an unequivocal 
majority in its favour. On this point he proclaimed 
himself a disciple of Lord Hartington, who had said, 
before the Liberal Party was divided by Home Eule, 



262 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

that the future of the Scottish Church must be de- 
termined by the Scottish people. On July 20 the 
freedom of Edinburgh was conferred upon Mr. Pamell. 
After the ceremony Mr. Parnell addressed a meeting 
in the Com Exchange, at which the Chairman, Lord 
Aberdeen, read a congratulatory letter from Gladstone. 
In this letter Gladstone described Mr. ParneU as a 
great conservative force, and declared that the Govern- 
ment were bringing the cause of law and order into 
discredit by their abuse of the one and their dis- 
turbance of the other. 

On one important subject Gladstone found himself 
this year at variance with many of his most earnest 
supporters. The maturity of the Duke of Clarence, 
now 24, and the approaching marriage of Princess 
Louise of Wales, induced her Majesty to ask for an 
addition to the grants made by Parliament for the 
maintenance of the Boyal Family. A Select Conunittee, 
of which Gladstone was a member, was appointed 
by the House of Commons to consider the Queen's 
message. In the Committee Gladstone proposed, and 
the Government agreed, that a quarterly payment of 
9,000/. should be made to the Prince of Wales, that 
out of this he should provide for his own children, 
and that no further application should be made to 
Parliament. When, on July 25, Mr. Smith, as Leader 
of the House, moved the adoption of this report, it 



PABNELLISM AND CEIME 263 

was opposed by the Eadicals, including Mr. Morley 
and Sir Edward Grey, and Mr. Labouchere moved 
a hostile amendment to it. Gladstone, however, 
strongly supported the Government, and, in an 
eloquent speech, rapturously applauded by the Con- 
servative party, pleaded for maintaining the British 
monarchy, not only with dignity, but with splendour. 
He carried with him the Irish vote. But the Eadicals 
went into the other Lobby, and their relations with 
the Pamellites were severely strained. 

On July 26, Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone celebrated their 
golden wedding. They received an address from the 
National Liberal Club. But perhaps the most interest- 
ing part of the anniversary was the affectionate letter to 
Mrs. Gladstone from the venerable Cardinal Manning, 
who had been estranged from her husband by the con- 
troversy over the Vatican Decrees, but who was now 
a warm supporter of Home Eule for Ireland. 

At the beginning of September, 1889, Gladstone, 
always anxious to promote friendly relations with 
France, and vexed at what he considered the slight 
put upon the French Government by Lord Salisbury, 
paid a week's visit to Paris with his wife. On the 7th 
he was entertained at dinner by a number of politicians, 
chiefly Free Traders, and in response to the toast 
of his health, proposed by M. L6on Say, delivered in 
French a cordial speech on the natural links between 



264 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

the two conntrieR. His presence, and his remarks, 
met with a warm welcome from the French Press. 

Gladstone's first speech in England dmJng the 
recess was made at Hawarden on September 23, 
when he received a deputation from the Hyde Beform 
Club. On this occasion he caused some surprise by 
the extreme vigour with which he denounced the 
nationalisation of the land, then rather popular with 
advanced Badicals. If, he said, the State took the 
land without paying for it, that would be robbery; 
if they bought it, that would be folly. Gladstone 
had always taken a most sympathetic interest in the 
affairs of Italy. But he could not approve of the 
ambitious policy in which, under Signer Crispi, she 
had indulged ; and in the * Contemporary Review ' for 
October, writing under the name of * Outidanos,' or * A 
man of no account,* he implored her to be on her guard 
against excessive armaments, to avoid alliance vnth 
Austria, and to discard her jealousy of France. This 
article provoked a spirited reply from Signer Crispi, 
who persisted in his policy, with results that aU the 
world knows. On October 23, speaking at Southport, 
Gladstone referred to the atrocities committed by the 
Turks in Crete and in Armenia, which, he said, promised 
to rival the worst horrors of Bulgaria. Dwelling upon 
the great power of combination among workmen, as 
shown in the recent and successful strike of dock 



PABNELLISM AND CRIME 265 

labourers in London, he declared that what was law- 
ful in England would be criminal in Ireland. On 
December 2 he attended, at Manchester, the annual 
meeting of the National Liberal Federation, and urged 
the necessity of completing local government by the 
establishment of district and parish councils. In a 
second speech, made also at Manchester, on the follow- 
ing day, he accused the Liberal Unionists of having pre- 
vented the Conservatives from taking up Home Eule, 
and protested against the promotion of Mr. Peter 
O'Brien, who had been conspicuous as a jury-packer, 
to be Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. Towards the 
end of this year, Mr. Pamell spent some days as a 
guest at Hawarden. 

On January 9, 1890, Gladstone devoted his annual 
speech, at the dinner of the Hawarden tenants, to the 
decay of the agricultural population, which he pro- 
nounced to be a great evil, both for the rural districts 
and for the towns. His first political speech for the 
year was made on January 22, at Chester, when he 
gave his celebrated definitions of Liberal and Conserva- 
tive principles. 'Liberalism,' he said, *was "trust in 
the people qualified by prudence ; " Conservatism was 
** distrust of the people, qualified by fear." ' 

On January 31, Gladstone, availing himself of his 
position as an Honorary Fellow, went into residence 
for a few days at All Souls', where he astonished and 



266 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

amused the Common Boom by the intensity of his 
academic conservatism. On February 5, just before 
his return to London, he addressed the Oxford Union, 
of which he had been President sixty years before, on 
the connection between Assyrian discoveries and the 
text of Homer. In reply to a vote of thanks, proposed by 
Archdeacon Palmer, Lord Selbome's brother, he declared 
his deep and undying affection for his old University. 

The first business at the opening of the session, on 
February 11, was the consideration of the report made 
by the three judges who had tried the issues between 
the Irish Nationalists and the * Times.' The judges 
had acquitted the Irish members of complicity in crime, 
and had stigmatised as forgeries the letters alleged to 
have been written by Mr. Pamell. But they found 
that the defendants had engaged in a conspiracy for 
the expulsion of the landlords, under the name of the 
' English Garrison,' had encouraged intimidation, and 
had persisted in the advocacy of boycotting, although 
they knew that it led to violence. Both parties were 
therefore enabled to claim a victory, although the most 
serious of the personal charges were dismissed. Bef ore, 
however, the report was considered. Sir William Harcourt 
moved, with Gladstone's approval, that the * Times * 
had committed a breach of privilege in publishing, on 
April 18, 1887, the day arranged for the division on 
the second reading of the Grimes Bill, the first of the 



PABNELLISM AND CRIME 267 

forged letters with Mr. Pamell's signatnre attached to it. 
This motion having been rejected by 260 to 212, and the 
Address having been agreed to, Mr. Smith, on March 3, 
moved a simple resolution of thanks to the judges. To 
this Gladstone proposed an amendment denouncing a 
resort to the weapons of calumny and forgery, and 
calling upon the House to condemn the 'flagrant 
iniquity ' of the attacks upon Mr. Pamell's character. 
He severely criticised some parts of the report, describ- 
ing it as ' a disproportioned and ill-balanced judgment.' 
At the close of a singularly powerful speech, which 
provoked applause from both sides of the House, he 
made an impassioned appeal to the consciences of Con- 
servative members. He implored them in the most 
solemn language to disregard on this occasion the ties 
of party, and to consider, as individuals, as gentlemen, 
as Christians, the reparation rightfully due to a man 
who, whatever they might think of his politics, had 
suffered for years a grievous wrong. If a division had 
been immediately taken, the result might have been 
different from what it was. But the debate was pro- 
longed for a week, and ended, on March 10, in the 
defeat of the amendment by numbers which almost 
exactly represented the balance of parties in the House 
of Commons. 

On April 24, Gladstone spoke against Mr. Bal- 
four's Land Purchase BiU, a great enlargement and 



968 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

extension of the Ashboame Acts, on four specific 
^inroiinds. First, he said, the Irish Nationalists were 
opposed to it : secondly, the principle had been con- 
demned in the case of his own BiU at the General 
Election ; thirdly, it was inexpedient to put the State 
m the place of a landlord ; and. fourthly, the voluntary 
character of the measxure meant really the option of 
the landowner, who, by the weapon of unpaid arrears, 
ci^uld force the tenant to buy. The second reading 
was, however, carried by 348 to 268. On May 2, 
Gladstone, for the first time, spoke and voted for dis- 
establishing the Church of Scotland. On May 12, 
when the Local Taxation Bill came up for second 
reading. Gladstone, supporting an amendment moved 
by Mr. Caine, condemned the proposal that County 
Councils should have the power of buying the goodwill 
of public-houses. He pointed out that the judges had 
decided against the right of a publican to the renewal 
of his licence, and ax^ed that this measure, which he 
callevl a Public- house Endowment Bill, would give the 
publican, for the first time by statute, a right which he 
had not hitherto possessed. The second reading of the 
Bill was carried, but the licensing clauses were so stub- 
bornly resisted in Committee, and the majorities of the 
Government sank so low, that it was ultimately dropped. 
On May 16, speaking at Norwich. Gladstone pointed 
out that one-third of the Ministerial majority had been 



PABNELLIBM AND CEIME 269 

destroyed by the by-elections. In this and other 
speeches, as well as in articles contributed to magazines, 
he endeavoured to make electoral statistics into an 
exact science, and deduced from figures the inference 
that at the next General Election the Liberals would 
have a majority of 100. 

The business of the Government had made such 
slow progress this year that the Prime Minister sug- 
gested a reform of Parliamentary procedure, which 
would enable Bills to be taken up in a new session at 
the point which they had reached in the old. Mr. 
Smith gave notice of a standing order for this purpose. 
But, at Gladstone's request, he consented to the appoint- 
ment of a Select Committee, in which Gladstone moved 
that it would be unconstitutional for one House of 
Parliament to postpone a measure which had been 
passed by the other. This proposal suggested so many 
difiOiculties that the Government did not persist in their 
standing order. 

On July 7, in a debate on the Irish Estimates, 
Gladstone spoke with great indignation of the prac* 
tice called 'Shadovrtng,' which Mr. Balfour had 
introduced into Ireland. He said it was an intole- 
rable grievance that men should be followed by the 
police wherever they went, merely because the autho- 
rities chose to suspect them without any evidence. On 
this point Gladstone received a good deal of more or 



270 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

less articnlate sympathy from his political opponents, 
and shadowing was condemned by a Parliamentary 
follower of the Government in most unparliamentary 
language. On July 24, Gladstone, ably seconded by 
Sir William Harcourt, raised a constitutional point 
which had escaped general notice. Lord Salisbury had 
made an agreement with Germany by which, in return 
for the abandonment of German claims over Zanzibar, 
the little island of Heligoland was ceded to the German 
Empire. A BiU was introduced into Parliament for 
giving effect to this international arrangement. Glad- 
stone, while not objecting to the substance of the 
treaty, complained that the Government, by making it 
a subject of legislation, had abandoned the treaty- 
making prerogative of the Crown. This seemed a strange 
argument to come from a Liberal. But the real 
significance of it was seen when Gladstone proceeded 
to show that the prerogative of the Crown, exercised by 
the Ministers of the day, was subject to review by the 
House of Commons, and by the House of Commons 
alone; whereas a Bill required the sanction of the 
House of Lords. The Government, however, pro- 
ceeded with their Bill and carried it, the Land Bill 
being reserved for an autunm session in November. 

At the end of July, Gladstone was entertained by a 
number of Wesleyan Liberals at the National Liberal 
Club, and took the opportunity of criticising the policy 



PAENELLISM AND CBIME 271 

of Sir Lintom Simmons's mission. Sir Lintom 
Simmons had been sent to Borne to procure the assent 
of the Pope for Protestant marriages in Malta, and 
Gladstone declared with much vehemence that this 
was a distinct recognition by the British Government 
of Papal authority within the Queen's dominions. 

In October, Gladstone, now in his eighty-first year, 
entered upon a fresh Midlothian campaign. Speaking 
at Edinburgh on the 21st, he called attention to the 
increasing number of derelict farms in Ireland, which, 
he said, proved that the policy of coercion had done 
nothing for the landlord. Irishmen, he added, were 
justified in hating the law, though nothing could justify 
them in breaking it. At West Calder, on the 22nd, he 
expressed disapproval of a general Eight Hours Bill ; 
but admitted that the case of the miners was excep- 
tional, and that there was much to be said for it as 
regarded them. At Dalkeith, on the 25th, he aroused 
great enthusiasm by the statement that, south of the 
Tweed, Church Defence meant Toryism. * I am,' he 
said, * supposed to be a sort of Churchman myself, but 
they never ask me to join a Church Defence Society.' 
Speaking again, at Edinburgh, on the 27th, he denied 
having said that it passed the wit of man to provide 
for Irish representation at Westminster under a Home 
Eule Bill. What he had said was that no such scheme 
could be framed which was not open to objections. 



272 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

But these objections might be overcome, and the Liiberal 
Party had, he feared, plenty of time before them. 
Then and always, though pressed not only by oppo- 
nents but by some of his followers, such as Mr. Asquith, 
he consistently refused to say what changes he would 
make in his Home Eule Bill, if he had another oppor- 
tunity of introducing it. He would not go beyond a 
general assurance that the Lrish members were not to 
be entirely excluded from Parliament. On October 29 
he received the freedom of Dundee, and, addressing an 
audience of both political parties, dealt with the new 
McKinley tariff in the United States, pointing out 
that, though apparently unfavourable to British traders, 
it was indirectly advantageous to them, because, by 
raising American prices, it hampered American com- 
petition in neutral markets. 



273 



CHAPTEE XXni 

THE FALL OF PARNELL 

At this time the prospects of the Liberal Party 
were highly favourable. The by-elections were going 
against the Government, and many Conservatives were 
beginning to doubt the wisdom of Mr. Balfour's policy 
in Ireland. But, in November, there came a great and 
sudden change. A personal and apparently inamaterial 
event produced a revolution of public feeling, for which 
it would be difi&cult to find a parallel in the history 
of English politics. Mr. Pamell had been made 
co-respondent in a divorce case. He did not appear 
in the witness-box to deny the charge upon oath, 
and, on November 17, judgment was given against 
him. On November 20, the National Liberal Con- 
ference held its annual meeting at Sheffield. It was 
attended by Sir William Harcourt and Mr. Morley. 
No public reference was made to Mr. Pamell in the 
course of the proceedings. But, on their return to 
London, the two Liberal leaders informed their Chief 
that, in the unanimous opinion of the Liberal delegates, 
the continuance of Mr. Parnell at the heard of the 

T 



274 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

Nationalist Party would mean the abandonment of 
Home Bnle by English Liberals. This was called the 
revolt of the Nonconformist conscience, though it is 
certain that a large proportion of the delegates were 
Churchmen. 

On November 24, Gladstone wrote a letter to 
Mr. Morley, which was to be shown to Mr. Pamell 
and to Mr. Justin McCarthy, but not to the other 
Irish Nationalists, if Mr. Pamell voluntarily retired. 
Mr. McCarthy failed to communicate with Mr. 
Pamell, who was, on the 25th, the day of the meet- 
ing of Parliament, unanimously re-elected chairman 
by his colleagues. At the time of the re-election the 
letter was not known to the Irish members. It was 
immediately afterwards published. It contained the 
expression of Gladstone's view that, if Mr. Pamell 
remained where he was, many friends of Home Kule 
would be estranged and Gladstone's own leadership 
would be made * almost a nullity.' On November 29, 
Pamell replied in a manifesto, which informed the 
Irish people that he was being thrown to the * English 
wolves.' He went on to assure them that when 
he stayed at Hawarden in December, 1889, Gladstone 
told him what the next Home Eule Bill would be. 
The Irish members were to be reduced in number to 
thirty-four, and the Imperial Parliament was to have 
exclusive control over the question of Irish land. The 



THE FALL OP PAENELL 275 

judges and the police were also to be withdrawn from 
the jurisdiction of the Lrish Legislature. Mr. Pamell 
added that, on November 10, 1890, Mr. Morley had 
offered him the Chief Secretaryship for Lreland, and 
had asked whether another Lrish member could not be 
appointed a law ofl&cer of the Crown. Those proposals 
he declared that he had refused; and he added that 
Irish Nationalists were now independent of all English 
parties. These statements Gladstone inamediately and 
totally denied. He said that in his confidential talk 
with Mr. Pamell at Hawarden he had merely exchanged 
ideas. He had made no definite proposals, and had 
never even mentioned the particulars which Mr. Pamell 
detailed. All that passed between them he had in 
confidence communicated to his colleagues in the late 
Government. Mr. Morley, for his part, positively 
contradicted the assertion that he had invited Mr. 
Pamell to be Chief Secretary in a Liberal Administration. 
He had merely asked Mr. Pamell whether the refusal 
of the Irish members to take ofl&ce in a British Govern- 
ment was to be regarded as final, and Pamell had 
answered that it was. 

In consequence of Gladstone's letter, a second 
meeting of the Irish party was held on December 1, 
at one of the Committee-rooms of the House of 
Commons, and Pamell was called Upon to resign. 
He said he would do so if Gladstone gave an 

T 2 



376 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

assurance that Ireland should be allowed to manage 
her own police and legislate for her own land. 
Gladstone refused to give any pledge, or to go beyond 
an intimation that no Home Eule Bill could be carried 
or ought to be proposed which did not meet with the 
general concurrence of the Lrish people. After a pro- 
longed and acrimonious discussion, during which 
Pamell, as chairman, succeeded in postponing, upon 
technical grounds, a direct vote, a majority of those 
present, being forty-five, withdrew to another room, 
deposed Pamell from the leadership, and elected Mr. 
McCarthy as sessional chairman. This animated 
struggle diverted attention from the regular proceed- 
ings of Parliament, and Mr. Balfour's Land Purchase 
Bill, though unfavourably criticised by Gladstone, was 
read a second time without serious opposition. It 
became law the foUoviring year. 

On January 27, 1891, the House of Commons per- 
formed a tardy act of justice. Upon the motion of Mr. 
Hunter, member for North Aberdeen, who was sup- 
ported by Gladstone, the House unanimously expunged 
the resolution passed on June 22, 1880, which contra- 
vened the right of Mr. Bradlaugh to take the Parlia- 
mentary oath. Mr. Bradlaugh was then Ajing ; and it 
is doubtful whether he knew what was done. He had, 
by universal consent, been an excellent member of 
Parliament, and had himself carried an Act which 



THE PALL OF PABNELL 277 

enabled those who disapproved of oaths to make an 
aflQrmation of their allegiance. Gladstone alluded to 
this long controversy, and to its final result, when, on 
February 4, in one of his most eloquent speeches, he 
moved the second reading of the Eeligious Disqualifica- 
tion Eemoval Bill. The object of this measure was to 
relieve Catholics from their disqualification for the 
Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland and the Lord Chancellor- 
ship of England, the only offices still denied to them. 
Gladstone pointed out that a Eoman Catholic, Mr. 
Matthews, was at that time Home Secretary, and that 
the Woolsack, with all the ecclesiastical patronage 
which it involved, might be occupied by a Mahome- 
dan, a Buddhist, an Agnostic, or an Atheist. The 
Government, however, opposed the Bill. It was nick- 
named a Eipon and Eussell Belief Bill, and rejected by 
256 votes to 223. 

A few days afterwards, in supporting Mr. Morley's 
annual vote of censure upon the Irish Administration, 
which was rejected by the usual majority, Gladstone 
charged the Government with fostering sympathy 
for those who broke the law. It was observed that, 
in this division, all the Irish Nationalists, despite 
their differences, voted together. On February 20 
a motion in favour of Welsh disestablishment, for 
which Gladstone spoke, describing the Welsh Church 
as the Church of the few and the rich, was only 



278 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

rejected by the narrow majority of thirty-two. Mr. 
Chamberlain, and several of his political friends, 
voted for the motion. On March 3, Gladstone both 
voted and spoke for Mr. Stansfeld's motion in favonr of 
one man one vote, and the reduction of the qualifying 
period from twelve months to three. The plural vote 
was, he said, a ' lottery,' and not a real representation 
even of wealth ; but on this occasion the Government 
had a majority of more than 100. 

Gladstone took very little part in the debates of 
1891. Most of his speeches were made outside Parlia- 
ment, and were directed to the constituencies. On 
March 14, however, he visited Eton, and lectured to the 
boys, or such of them as were members of the Literary 
Society, on the Homeric conception of Artemis. In 
the course of this interesting address he mentioned that 
it was Dr. Pusey, also an Eton man, who first excited 
his interest in the gods and goddesses of Homer. 

Five days afterwards he returned to politics, and, in a 
speech at Hastings, criticised the financial policy of the 
Government, as illustrated by the Naval Defence Act. 
This Act, he said, stereotyped the naval expenditure of 
the country to the amount of 1,400,000Z. a year for seven 
years, and gave the House of Lords a control over public 
expenditure to which it was not entitled. Moreover, 
he continued, it was absurd to determine the nature of 
ships to be built seven years hence, inasmuch as their 



THE PALL OP PABNELL 279 

fashion changed as rapidly as the fashion of ladies* 
bonnets. In the month of April there were a number 
of by-elections, which were regarded as omens of the 
future ; and Gladstone, in a letter to the Liberal candi- 
date for Woodstock, which was the first of these con- 
stituencies to poll, attacked the Government for not 
having redeemed the pledge to introduce an Irish Local 
Government Bill, given five years before. Mr. Balfour 
attempted, though unsuccessfully, to fulfil this promise 
in 1892. 

On October 2, Gladstone attended the meeting 
of the National Liberal Federation at Newcastle, and 
gave his support to the Newcastle progranoutne, which, 
for the next four years, was the platform of the Liberal 
Party. Putting [Home Eule first, he added to it the 
disestablishment of the Welsh and Scottish Churches, 
local veto, one man one vote, the payment of election 
expenses from public funds, and the establishment of 
parish councils. He declared that if the House of 
Lords were to throw out a Home Eule Bill passed by 
the House of Commons, it would become a dangerous 
power between the Throne and the people. As regarded 
the payment of members, he would have confined it to 
those who had been taken from the working classes. 
But this distinction was unpalatable to the trade 
unions and was afterwards dropped. On December 10 
a conference of villagers was held at the Memorial 



280 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

Hall, in Faxringdon Street, and the next morning Glad- 
stone met the delegates at breakfast in the Holbom 
liestaurant, when he spoke on parish comxcils and 
allotments, and the division of rates between owner 
and occupier. The Government had carried an Allot« 
ments Act, but it was argued by the Opposition that 
the powers of acquiring land under it were too expen- 
sive and complicated to be practically useful. 

The session of 1892 was, if possible, tamer than the 
session of 1891, and Gladstone took little more part 
in the second than he had in the first. When the 
second reading of the Women's Franchise Bill was 
moved, on April 22, Mr. Samuel Smith, who pro- 
posed its rejection, read a letter from Gladstone against 
the principle of the Bill. He objected to it, in the 
first place, because it only enfranchised unmarried 
women. But, going beyond this point, which could 
easily have been altered, he contended that if women 
had votes they must have seats ; and that if they were 
eligible for seats they must be qualified for office ; and, 
in short, used the argument, so common in Tory 
mouths, which is known as the thin edge of the wedge. 
The Bill was rejected by the small majority of twenty- 
three. On April 28, Gladstone, speaking rather as a 
Churchman than as a politician, came to the assistance of 
the Government; and strongly supported the Clergy 
Discipline Bill, which provided facilities for removing 



THE FALL OP PABNELL 281 

immoral clergymen from their benefices. The Bill was 
opposed, and even obstructed, by Eadical members, 
especially Eadicals from Wales. But Gladstone 
implored the House of Commons to fulfil their duty 
to the parishes who sought relief from unsuitable 
ministers ; and such was his zeal for the Bill that, for 
the only time in his life, he attended a Standing Com- 
mittee to help in passing it. 

A month later, on May 24, he once more appeared 
as leader of the Opposition, and delivered a vigorous 
speech against the second reading of Mr. Balfour's 
Local Government Bill for Ireland. He complained 
that Mr. Balfour, who had become Leader of the House 
on the death of Mr. Smith, in October, 1891, was putting 
oflf Ireland with a kind of local government inferior to 
what they had given to England and Scotland, and he 
dwelt, with especial severity, upon the proposal that two 
Irish judges should have power to dissolve a county 
council which had misconducted itself. The second read- 
ing of the Bill was carried by 339 votes to' 247. But 
the ridicule excited by what was christened the * put 
them in the dock * clause proved fatal, and the Bill was 
withdrawn. 

Addressing a meeting of Nonconformists, at the 
Memorial Hall, on May 31, Gladstone rephed to a speech 
in which Lord Salisbury had declared that Ulster would 
be justified in forcibly resisting Home Rule. There 



282 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

were, he said, fools and rogues everywhere. But the 
Prime Minister's assumption that sober and respectable 
citizens in Ulster would resist the law of Parliament 
was an unmerited slur upon their loyalty and good 
sense. The Ulster Convention, held in the following 
month, at Belfast, did, however, express sentiments very 
like those which Lord Salisbury imputed to them ; and, 
on June 18, Gladstone, who had been invited to meet 
some Nonconformist ministers at Dr. Guinness Bogers's 
house in Clapham, did his best to allay the fears of 
Ulster Protestants. The power of Eome was, he 
thought, exaggerated in their minds, and he pointed 
out that the Papal rescript against the Plan of 
Campaign had had little or no effect in Ireland. At 
the same time, he acknowledged that the language of 
Ulstermen was more moderate than that of Lord 
Salisbury ; and in reply to the question why Ulster could 
not . have separate treatment in a Home Bule Bill, he 
said the reason was that Ulster herself repudiated it. 



283 



CHAPTEE XXIV 
Gladstone's last govebnment 

The Parliament of 1886 was now well advanced in 
its seventh year, and a dissolution was known to be 
impending. The actual date was June 29. But most 
election addresses, including Gladstone's, which was 
dated the 24th, had been issued before that time. It 
was in view of an immediate appeal to the country that 
the London Trades Council came on a deputation to 
Gladstone, and asked him to take up the question of a 
legal eight hours day. This was on June 16. Glad- 
stone's reply was a refusal. He said that Ireland had 
the first claim upon him, and that he could not at his 
age embark upon great changes such as the deputation 
desired. He had striven his utmost for the working 
classes, and in proof of this proposition he said, • I 
appeal to my life.' 

Gladstone's address contained no information about 
a future Home Eule Bill, and is chiefly remarkable for 
having been written, as it says, in the sixty-fifth year 
of his pohtical life, when he could not expect to face 
another General Election. The day after it was written. 



284 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

June 25, he went to Chester to speak at a liiberal 
meeting. On his way he was struck in the eye with a 
hard piece of gingerbread, which gave him great pain 
and inflicted rather serious injury. The identity of the 
thrower, a woman, was discovered by the police, but 
Gladstone declined to prosecute her. In spite of the 
pain, he made his speech, and announced that if the 
Lords threw out a Home Eule Bill he should not regard 
it as a proper ground for dissolving Parliament. 

On June 30 he spoke with all his old energy at 
the Music Hall in Edinburgh, and afterwards made 
a succession of speeches at Glasgow and elsewhere. 
But he did not satisfy public curiosity about his 
intentions, and the enthusiasm of Scotland for him 
was perceptibly diminished. His own majority in 
Midlothian sank from more than 4,000 to less than 700. 
His opponent, General Wauchope, who afterwards fell 
at Magersfontein, was one of the most popular men in 
Scotland, and had been diligently nursing the con- 
stituency for years. But nothing could explain away 
a reduction so enormous. The result of the election 
was the return of 355 Liberals, including Lish 
Nationalists, and of 315 Conservatives, including 
Liberal Unionists, who suffered more severely than any 
other party. This gave a majority of forty for Glad* 
stone and Home Eule. The Government, exercising 
their undoubted right, determined not to resign, but 



GLADSTONE'S LAST GOVEENMBNT 285 

to meet the new Parliament on August 4. On 
August 8 the Queen's Speech was read, and Mr. 
Asquith, on behalf of the Opposition, moved as an 
amendment a direct vote of no conj&dence in the 
Ministry. This was seconded by Mr. Burt, the oldest 
of the labour members, and carried, on August 11, by 
350 votes against 310. Gladstone spoke on the second 
night of the debate, but declined to say what he would 
do if he were the head of a Liberal Government, 
which must still be regarded as a * nebulous hypothesis.' 
He expressed, however, an opinion that the Coercion 
Act of 1887 should be repealed, and intimated that he 
would not resign office if the Home Eule Bill were 
rejected by the House of Lords. In conclusion, he 
said that the question of Ireland was to him, personally, 
almost everything, and that he remained in public life 
to settle it. After the division the Government at once 
resigned, and, on August 15, Gladstone accepted office 
as First Lord of the Treasury and Lord Privy Seal. 

Never was a Government formed under greater 
difficulties. The Prime Minister was eighty-two, and 
though his strength was unabated, the infirmities of 
age were creeping upon him. His majority was 
entirely dependent upon the Irish vote, and the Irish 
party itself had not been reunited by the death of 
Mr. Pamell, in October, 1891. Some of the Liberal 
leaders, including Lord Eosebery, returned to office 



286 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

with great reluctance. But Gladstone felt that he had 
a duty which he ought not to decline, and that he mnst 
do what he could to carry Home Bule. He strengthened 
his Administration hy including in it some young 
Liberals of distinguished promise. Mr. Asquith be- 
cauH.' Home Secretary ; Mr. Arthur Acland, Minister 
of Education, with a seat in the Cabinet ; and Sir 
Edward Grey, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. 

Gladstone's first speech, as Prime Minister for the 
fourth time, was made at Carmarthen, on September 12, 
when he dealt chiefly with the principle of religions 
equality as applicable to Wales. There was no autmnn 
session, but a good deal was done by Ministers them- 
selves before Parliament met. On September 26, Mr. 
Morley announced, in a letter to Mr. McCarthy, the 
appointment of a conunission to consider the best 
means of restoring the evicted tenants in Ireland, On 
September 29 the Cabinet was unexpectedly summoned, 
and it was soon afterwards announced by Lord Bose- 
bery, as Foreign Secretary, that the Government would 
hold themselves responsible for the administration of 
Uganda, which the East African Company had been 
compelled to relinquish. On October 19, Mr. Asquith 
disposed of the troublesome questions which had arisen 
out of the claim to hold public meetings in Trafalgar 
Square, by deciding, in consultation with the First 
Conamissioner of Works, that they might be held on 



GLADSTONE'S LAST GOVERNMENT 287 

Sundays, and Saturday afternoons, when they could 
not interfere with the traffic. 

Gladstone's utterances during the remainder of 
this year were not political. On October 24 he 
delivered the first Eomanes Lecture at Oxford, and 
chose for his subject the history of Universities, 
which he had carefully, if not exhaustively, studied. 
On December 3 he received, not too soon, the 
freedom of Liverpool, his native town, and gave some 
picturesque recollections of Liverpool aa he first 
knew it. Perhaps the most interesting of these, to 
practical politicians, was the fact that the Liverpool 
merchants had returned Mr. Canning and Mr. 
Huskisson, from 1812 to 1830, free of all expense. A 
remarkable feature of Gladstone's fourth Administra- 
tion was a new rule, afterwards cancelled by Lord 
Salisbury, that no member of the Cabinet should be a 
director of any public company. During the autumn 
Gladstone intimated to M. Waddington, the French 
Ambassador in London, his willingness to discuss with 
the French Government the British occupation of 
Egypt. But Lord Eosebery, as Foreign Secretary, 
demurred, and the proposal came to nothing. 

Parliament did not meet in 1893 till January 31, 
after which it sat in every month throughout the year 
except October. Two Ministerial decisions of some 
importance were, however, announced before the day 



iB8 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

of meetint^. On January 21 it was officially stated 
that two Irish political prisoners, Egan and Callan, 
bad been released. There had always been a doubt 
whether Euan, though duly convicted of a cziminal 
conspiracy, in which dynamite was employed, had him- 
self been actually concerned in the use of that explosive. 
CailanVs discharge had been ordered by Mr. Matthews 
Ix'fore he left office, for reasons which were never 
explained in public. On January 24, Mr. Mundella, 
the President of the Board of Trade, told a deputation 
that he had jleci«led to form a Labour Department of the 
Board, and to publish officially a * Labour Gazette,' for 
the spread ut industrial statistics. Both these reforms 
were permanently adopted. 

The Queen 3 Speech contained a paragraph to the 
effect that recent events in Egypt had made it necessary 
to increase the number of her Majesty's forces there. 
The reference was to the impulsive conduct of the new 
Khedive, Abbas Pasha, a very young man, who had en- 
deavoured to emancipate himself from the control of the 
British Kosideiit, Sir Evelyn Baring, afterwards Lord 
Cromer. The paragraph added that the Khedive had 
reconsidered his position, and would in future follow Sir 
Evelyn Baring's advice. It was also announced that no 
changes of policy in Egypt were contemplated by the 
Government. Another paragraph informed Parlia- 
ment that the Crimes Act would not be further enforced 



GLADSTONE'S LAST GOVEBNMENT 289 

in Ireland. But the Government could not find time 
for the repeal of the Act, even if the House of Lords 
would have consented to such a course. In his speech 
on the Address, the Prime Minister stated that a Boyal 
Commission would be appointed to consider the sub- 
ject of the land laws in Wales. 

On February 9 there was a rather serious conflict 
between the Home Secretary and the Irish members. 
Mr. Asquith peremptorily refused to release any more of 
the Irish dynamiters then in English prisons, or to 
treat them otherwise than as ordinary criminals. The 
Irish Nationalists voted against him in a body ; but he 
was supported in his refusal by the Opposition. On 
February 11, Gladstone delivered a spirited speech 
against any interference with the landing of foreigners, 
even if they were destitute, upon the shores of this 
country. But he conceded to Mr. Lowther, who had 
raised the question, an inquiry into the American 
system of partial exclusion. 

Not till February 13 did Gladstone find an oppor- 
tunity to introduce his second Home Eule Bill. It 
was substantially, though not in detail, the same as 
the first, with the great and important exception 
that the Irish members were for some purposes to 
have the power of voting in the Imperial Parliament. 
Their number was to be reduced from 103 to 80, 
and they were not to vote upon any purely British 

u 



290 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

question; but upon a proposal that an English or 
Scottish measure should be extended to Ireland they 
would still be entitled to do so. The Opposition did 
not divide against the first reading of the Bill. 

But with the Welsh Suspensory Bill, which Mr. 
Asquith introduced on February 23, they took a difiEerent 
course, and its introduction was only permitted by 301 
votes to 245. This was intended to be the first step to- 
wards Welsh Disestablishment. The object of the Bill, 
framed on the analogy of the Irish measure in 1868, was 
to suspend the right of ecclesiastical patronage in Wales 
until Parliament had dealt with the whole question 
of the Welsh Church. Eeplying to Lord Bandolph 
Churchill's taunt, that he only took up this subject for 
the sake of furthering Home Eule, Gladstone declared, 
with much energy, that he was equally ready to vote for 
Irish Home Eule and for Welsh Disestablishment. On 
the 28th, in resisting a proposal for the establishment 
of International Bi-metallism, Gladstone made a speech 
which placed him for a time in a most unusual position, 
as the most popular man in the City of London. His 
main argument was neither more nor less than the 
stability of gold and the instability of silver. But 
although he did not discuss the matter from a severely 
scientific point of view, the speech is unrivalled as a 
plain statement, which everyone can understand, of the 
case for mono-metalUsm. The motion was rejected 



GLADSTONE'S LAST GOVBENMENT 291 

by 229 votes to 148. On March 27, Gladstone called a 
meeting of his party at the Foreign Office, and addressed 
them with much earnestness on the backward state of 
public business. The second reading of the Home 
Eule Bill had not yet been moved, and little or no 
progress had been made with Supply. Governments 
with small majorities had, he said, often been long- 
lived, such as the second Administrations of Lord 
Melbourne and Lord Palmerston. But if he and his 
colleagues were to succeed in the gigantic task before 
them, they must be able to rely upon the self-sacrij&ce 
of their followers, and to dispose of almost all the 
time available for public business. Before the second 
reading of the Home Eule Bill, moved on April 6, 
Gladstone was reminded of the serious difficulties 
with which he had to contend, by two important 
deputations, one from Belfast, and the other from the 
City of London. The j&rst of these quoted j&gures to 
show that since the Bill was introduced there had 
been a marked depreciation in the value of Irish 
railways and banks. To this Gladstone answered, that 
the panic which caused the fall was itself the result of 
political prejudice and groundless alarm. To show 
that commercial prosperity could exist under Home 
Eule, he cited the past instance of Grattan's Parlia- 
ment, and the flourishing condition of Canada at the 
present time. The deputation from the City predicted 

u 2 



392 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

that if Lreland were exempt from the contaEQl of the 
Lnpezial Parliament, her borrowing poweis would be 
severely curtailed. Gladstone pointed ont that the 
CSorporation of Dublin, which was under Nationalist 
control, had raised its credit higher than it had evef 
stood before. And, he added that, in spite of warnings 
from particular classes, he felt bound to carry oat 
the wishes expressed by the majority of the United 
Kingdom. 

At last, on April 6, Gladstone was able to move the 
second reading of his principal measure. In doing so, 
he gave what he called a summary, and his opponents 
sailed a caricature, of the assumptions upon which 
resistance to the Bill was groxmded. The Ixxsh, he 
said, in the distorted vision of English UnionistSy had, 
except in Ulster, ' nothing human about them except the 
form. ' He vehemently protested against the hypothesis, 
which he declared to be contradicted by history, that 
Irishmen would not loyally carry out their obligations 
both to their own country and to Great Britain. He 
gave a long list of historical analogies to show that 
the union of a State was always promoted and not 
retarded by the autonomy of its component parts. 
And, in defending the financial clauses of the Bill, he 
gave it as his opinion that Ireland had long paid to 
the Imperial Exchequer a sum greatly in excess of her 
material resources, as compared with those of England. 



GLADSTONE'S LAST GOVEENMENT 293 

In conclusion, he said that, if this Bill were rejected, 
the responsibility for the denial of justice to Ireland 
would lie upon the nation as a whole. The rejection 
of the Bill was moved by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, 
and the debate lasted till April 21, when Gladstone 
replied upon the whole of it. While maintaining that 
his original strictures upon the Land League in 1881 
were justified by the excesses which it then counte- 
nanced, but had afterwards repudiated, he made the 
significant admission that without the Land League 
there would have been no Land Act. The second 
reading was carried by 347 votes to 304. 

On May 3 the Eight Hours Bill for miners came 
before the House of Commons, and was read a second 
time. Gladstone supported the second reading. But 
he did so without much appearance of conviction, and 
he suggested that counties such as Durham and 
Northumberland, which objected to the Bill, should not 
-be included in it. Before the Home Eule Bill went 
into Committee the House of Commons, by 295 votes 
to 240, passed a resolution inviting the Lord Chancellor 
to appoint magistrates for the counties, if necessary, 
without consulting the Lords-Lieutenant. Much com- 
plaint had been made by Liberals that, as most of the 
Lords-Lieutenant were Tories, Liberal politics excluded 
men from the Bench. Mr. Bryce, as Chancellor of the 
Duchy, had, on his own authority, appointed justices 



294 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

of the peace in Lancashire without a recommendation 
from Lord Sefton, the Lord-Lieutenant. But Ijord 
Herschell, as Chancellor, declined to depart from 
established usage without a positive direction from the 
representatives of the people. In both cases the 
practice was reversed, and the old custom restored, by 
the next Government. 

On May 8 began the discussion of the Home Bule 
Bill in Committee. Gladstone himself took personal 
charge of it, assisted by Mr. Morley, as Chief Secretary, 
and by the law oflScers of the Crown in England. 
The Irish law oflScers had no seats in the House. 
History records no more marvellous example of physical 
and mental vigour in a man of 83. Twelve years 
before, Gladstone had surprised everyone by the skill 
and success with which he had piloted the Irish Land 
Bill through a similar stage. But then all his faculties 
were fresh and vigorous ; whereas now, his hearing was 
grievously impaired. Yet he seldom left the House, he 
spoke on almost every amendment, and he developed 
resources of illustration as well as argimaent, which, if 
they did not always promote the rapid progress of the 
measure, excited the admiring wonder of the whole 
House. Not many changes were made, though, on 
May 16, the Government accepted an amendment 
from Sir Henry James, which expressly reserved the 
supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. But the Bill 



GLADSTONE'S LAST GOVEENMENT 295 

was opposed with unexaanpled pertinacity, and it 
became evident that without some change of procedure 
it could not be passed within the limits of an ordinajry 
session. The Chairman, Mr. Mellor, Gladstone's own 
choice, was too scrupulous to put the closure upon 
the whole or any part of a clause whenever it 
would have shut out substantial amendments. This 
decision was not followed by his successor, and is 
diflScult to reconcile with the terms of the rule. At 
length, on June 28, the Prime Minister announced 
that he would propose a motion for closure by compart- 
ments. On specific days, to be set forth in the resolu- 
tion, the debate on fixed portions of the Bill would 
come to an end, and at ten o'clock the Chairman 
would, by order, proceed to put the remaining clauses 
of that portion from the Chair. On the 29th the 
resolution was moved by Gladstone, who quoted in its 
favour the precedent of the Crimes Act, passed by the 
same method in 1887. The motion was carried by a 
majority of thirty-two. On July 12, Gladstone made a 
concession to the majority of his English supporters by 
allowing the Irish members to vote, as at present, for 
all purposes whatsoever. But this was only carried by 
twenty-seven votes, and it gave the Conservatives a 
dangerous weapon for use at by-elections. Irishmen, 
they argued, would now be able to govern, not only 
Ireland, but England, Scotland, and Wales. 



296 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

On July 27, the last day of Committee, a serions and 
unprecedented outbreak occurred in the House. Hising 
a little before ten o'clock, when the final clauses were 
to be put, Mr. Chamberlain delivered a speech which, 
though highly aggressive and provocative, was not 
beyond the recognised limits of Parliamentary debate. 
But he excited the Irish members beyond their powers 
of self-control, and was greeted when he sat down vdth 
cries of Judas. An English Conservative moved that 
these words should be taken down. The Chairman, not 
hearing him in the din, or not regarding his motion as in 
order, proceeded to put the question. Many Conserva- 
tives refused to leave the House for the division, and 
a few turbulent individuals engaged in physical con- 
flict. The scene was naturally exaggerated by descrip- 
tive reporters, but it was universally regarded as 
disgraceful to the House, and it had some effect in 
quieting the passions excited by Home Eule. The 
Speaker was sent for, and though neither the Leader 
of the House, nor the Leader of the Opposition, who 
had both gone out to vote, could tell him exactly what 
had occurred, his presence, his influence, and his dig- 
nity, succeeded in procuring an almost instantaneous 
calm. The report of the Bill had, however, to be 
carried by a repetition of the same drastic methods, and 
even then it was not till August 30 that the third 
reading could be moved. In moving it, Gladstone 



GLADSTONE'S LAST GOVEENMBNT 297 

reminded the House that eighty-two days had been 
spent upon the Bill, and maintained that, in spite of 
what was called the gag, all its cardinal principles had 
been discussed. Tho opposition to the third reading 
was led by Mr. Courtney, and, on September 1, it 
finally passed the House of Commons by a majority 
of thirty-four, or nine less than had carried the second 
reading. 

While the Bill was before the House little else could 
be done. But, on June 16, a resolution, supported by 
Gladstone, was unanimously adopted in favour of general 
arbitration with the United States. On June 30, Glad- 
stone opposed the total stoppage of the Lidian traffic 
in opium, but agreed to the appointment of a Eoyal 
Commission on the subject. 

In the House of Lords the second reading of 
the Home Eule Bill was moved, on September 5, by 
Lord Spencer. The Duke of Devonshire proposed 
its rejection, and, on September 8, it was rejected by 
an enormous majority. The contents were forty-one, 
the not-contents were 419. No step was taken by 
the Government in consequence of this vote, and 
the House of Commons proceeded with the business 
of Supply till September 21, when it adjourned, till 
November 2, for an autmnn sitting. On September 
27, Gladstone spoke at Edinburgh, and in mysterious 
language, never fully explained, predicted that another 



298 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

session would not pass without seeing Home Bule 
again appear upon the waves. 

When the House of Commons met, on November 2, 
1893, nothing more was heard of the Welsh Suspensory 
Bill ; but the House proceeded to take up the Parish 
Councils Bill, which had only been introduced, and the 
Employers* Liability Bill, which had passed through the 
Standing Conmiittee on Law. Several other subjects, 
however, came under the notice of the House. On 
November 9, Gladstone defended, against the criticisms 
of Mr. Labouchere, the war which the South Africa 
Company was making against Lobengula, the King of 
the Matabele. Mr. Labouchere obtained little support, 
and did not press his motion to a division. It was then 
generally believed that the war was necessary for the 
protection of the peaceful Mashonas against the war- 
like Matabele. But when the Matabele had been 
crushed the Company proceeded to deal with the 
Mashonas, and eventually annexed the territories of 
both tribes. 

During this autumn a general strike in the coal 
trade against a reduction of wages had spread to an 
alarming extent, and seriously threatened the whole 
manufacturing trade of the country. At last the 
Government, by the advice of Mr. Mundella, intervened, 
and, on November 13, Gladstone read in the House of 
Conunons a letter which he had sent to the representa- 



GLADSTONE'S LAST GOVERNMENT 299 

tives of both sides. Li it he reminded them that the 
strike had now entered upon its sixteenth week, with- 
out any prospect of a conclusion ; and he suggested a 
friendly conference, with a member of the Cabinet, Lord 
Eosebery, in the chair. Lord Eosebery was not to sit 
as arbitrator, but merely to preside over the deliberations, 
and to bring the parties together if he could. The 
conference met at the Foreign Office on the 17th, and 
Lord Eosebery's good offices were successful. It was 
arranged that the men should return to work at the 
old rate of wages till February 1, 1894, and that, mean- 
while, a permanent Board of Conciliation should be 
established. On November 27 the question of better- 
ment, on the principle that all owners whose property 
was improved by municipal undertakings should con- 
tribute to the cost, came before the House. The Lords 
had struck out of the County Councils Lnprovement 
Bill the clauses which, for the first time, introduced 
this principle, and the Bill had consequently been 
dropped. The Lords then passed a resolution that a 
joint Committee of both Houses should be appointed 
to consider the question as a whole. Gladstone, on 
behalf of the Government, refused his assent to this 
proposal. The House of Conunons, he said, had ex- 
pressed their opinion, and it was not for the House of 
Lords to suggest that they should change their minds. 
Meanwhile, the Parish Councils Bill, which was in 



300 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

the hands of Mr. Fowler, had been read a second time 
and had got into Committee. It was making fairly satis- 
factory progress, when, on December 3, Mr. Fowler, 
supported by the Prime Minister, accepted a Badical 
amendment enabling parish conncils to appoint a 
majority of the trustees in all local charities which 
were not ecclesiastical. This decision induced the Con- 
servative Party to oppose the further stages of the Bill 
with great vehemence. The session had to be pro- 
tracted over Christmas, and the Bill was not sent to the 
House of Lords till January 10, 1894. 

On December 19 the state of the Navy was raised 
by Lord George Hamilton, who had been First Lord 
of the Admiralty, and who moved that the recent 
increase of Continental fleets called for a corre- 
sponding enlargement of our own. Gladstone re- 
garded these tactics as unconstitutional, and him- 
self proposed an amendment to the effect that it 
was the sole duty of her Majesty's Government to 
provide for the defence of the country at the proper 
time. He also argued in his speech that there was no 
danger either to the country or to commerce, inasmuch 
as the Navy was equal to any two other navies com- 
bined. Lord George's motion was defeated by a 
majority of thirty-six. Public opinion, however, was 
not satisfied with the Prime Minister's assurance, and 
Lord Spencer soon afterwards added a considerable 



GLADSTONE'S LAST GOVBENMENT 301 

sum to the Navy Estimates for building new ships. 
But by that time Gladstone had ceased to be responsible 
for public affairs. 

The House only adjourned for a few days at Christ- 
mas, meeting again on December 27. On the 29th an 
agreeable incident varied the course of polemical discus- 
sion. It was Gladstone's eighty-fourth birthday, and 
Mr. Balfour, on behalf of the Conservative Party, offered 
him congratulations, which he cordially acknowledged. 

At the opening of the new year an important 
step was taken by the Government as an employer 
of labour. The Secretary for War, Mr. Campbell- 
Bannerman, announced that the eight hours day, or, 
to speak more accurately, the forty-eight hours week, 
would be introduced into the Ordnance Factories as 
well as into the Dockyards. This experiment, though 
regarded with some suspicion at the time, was in every 
way successful. Early in January, Gladstone went for 
a short holiday to Biarritz, a favourite resort of his old 
age ; and while he was there, on January 31, the * Pall 
Mall Gazette ' startled the world by an apparently 
authoritative statement that the Prime Minister had 
determined to resign. The significance of this para- 
graph was not diminished by the carefully qualified 
contradiction which it received. From Gladstone him- 
self there came no word. But, in reply to inquiries. Sir 
Algernon West, an old friend and former secretary, who 



302 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

was staying with him at Biarritz, sent a long telegram, 
in which he denied that the Prime Minister had formed 
any such intention. Mr. Gladstone, he said, was 
ignorant of the turn which events might take, even 
during the present session. But his eyesight was 
giving him trouble, which added considerably to the 
burdens of office. He was, in fact, STiffering from 
cataract, for which he afterwards underwent a success- 
ful operation. He returned, however, soon afterwards, 
to London, where a conflict between the two Houses 
had produced a serious crisis. Mr. Asquith's Employers' 
Liability Bill, as it passed the House of Commons, 
abolished the doctrine of common employment, and 
made the master liable for injuries caused to one ser- 
vant by the negligence of another. This principle was 
generally adopted. The controversy turned upon the 
question whether masters and servants should be 
allowed to contract themselves out of the Bill. The 
House of Commons supported the Government in 
deciding that they should not ; and this was the view 
of the trades unions. The House of Lords, taking up 
the cause of the voluntary insurance societies, which 
the directors of most railways declared that they would 
have to abandon if the Bill passed in its present form, 
introduced a clause for conditional contracting out; 
and to this amendment they resolutely adhered. The 
consequence of the deadlock was the loss of the Bill, 



GLADSTONE'S LAST 6OVEENMENT 303 

Gladstone had intended to move, on February 20, that 
the Commons disagree with the Lords' amendment, 
and to take a division. But a technical difficulty arose. 
The Speaker ruled that, as the Lords had adhered with- 
out modification to an amendment rejected by the 
Commons, either the amendment must be accepted or 
the Bill must be dropped. Gladstone, therefore, could 
only move the withdrawal of the Bill, and this rather 
impotent conclusion deprived his speech of much of 
its force, as it deprived the division of all meaning. 
On March 1, however, he returned to the subject, in 
connection with the Parish Councils Bill, and took the 
opportunity of reviewing the whole history of the con- 
flict. The Lords had, in Committee, so entirely altered 
this Bill, which established district as well as parish 
councils, that it was hardly recognisable by its authors. 
The House of Commons refused to accept any impor- 
tant amendment made by the Lords. Lord Salisbury 
was for fighting the matter out, even at the risk of 
losing the Bill ; but, as the Duke of Devonshire and 
the Liberal Unionists declined to follow him, he gave 
way. Most of the Lords' amendments were abandoned, 
and they adhered only to two. One of these altered 
the size of the parish entitled to a council from 200 to 
300. The other left it with the Charity Commissioners 
to decide whether in each case a parish council should 
have control of charities. Bather than drop the Bill, 



304 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

Gladstone, on these two points, gave way. But he 
added that, in his opinion, the relations betv(reen the 
two Houses had become intolerably strained, and that 
the controversy must now go forward to its close. * For 
ourselves,' he said, speaking of the Cabinet, * we take 
frankly, fully, and finally, the side of the House of 
Commons.' 

This declaration was enthusiastically applauded 
by his followers, very few of whom knew that it 
was his last speech, and, indeed, his last appearance, 
in an assembly where he had sat with scarcely a 
break for more than sixty years. From this and other 
speeches, it is reasonable to infer that Gladstone would 
have appealed to the country against the Lords at that 
time if he had been able to conduct a political campaign, 
and if he had been supported by his colleagues ; but 
his physical powers were exhausted. The marvellous 
energy which he had displayed in the summer, when 
the Home Eule Bill was before the House, deserted 
him when it had been disposed of, and the avenues 
of sense, as he pathetically said, were closing. On 
March 3, Parliament was prorogued after an unex- 
ampled session of thirteen months, to meet again for 
a new one on the 12th. But it met with another 
Prime Minister. On the day of the prorogation 
Gladstone resigned, and the Queen made no e£Ebrt to 
retain his services. She at once sent for Lord Bosebery. 



GLADSTONE'S LAST GOVEENMENT 305 

Gladstone was not consulted upon the choice of his 
successor. The Queen, in strict accordance with the 
constitutional principle laid down in 1846 by Sir Eobert 
Peel, acted upon her own initiative. The choice of 
Lord Eosebery, though agreeable to most of his col- 
leagues, was due to the Crown, and to the Crown alone. 
It is characteristic of Gladstone's mental energy and 
versatility that on the very day of his retirement he 
completed his translation of Horace's * Odes.' Horace 
has never been really translated into English. But 
among the many attempts to perform an apparently 
impossible task, Gladstone's holds a high place. It is 
scholarly, lucid, and dignified. If it wants the lightness 
and ease which are part of Horace's inimitable charm, 
it preserves the beauty of the original, and it shows 
perfect appreciation of an author whose ideas, tastes, 
and thoughts were removed by an infinite distance from 
those of the translator. 



306 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE CLOSING YEABS 

Gladstone's involuntary retirement was received by 
all parties with respectful regret. Lord Salisbury, with 
an exquisite felicity, rare even in him, said that the 
country had lost the most brilliant intellect ever 
devoted to the service of the State since Parliamentary 
government began. On March 21, Gladstone, though 
he remained a member of Parliament till the dissolution 
of 1895, issued his farewell address to the electors of 
Midlothian. In this he made a dignified appeal to the 
masses of the people, in whose hands, he said, political 
power now rested. He warned them that they 
must be on their guard against the temptation to 
pursue their own selfish interests, which sometimes 
beset every portion of the community. For himself, 
he proclaimed his unalterable devotion to the cause of 
Home Eule ; but his personal connection with it was 
at an end. Writing, on July 7, to Sir John Cowan, 
the Chairman of the Liberal Association for Midlothian, 
he annoimced his definite retirement from public life. 
But he could not prevent the nation from eagerly 



THE CLOSING YEARS 307 

scrutinising all his published utterances, and a letter 
from him, which the Bishop of Chester, an advocate of 
the Gothenburg system, read at Aberdeen, on Septem- 
ber 17, caused some dismay to the supporters of Local 
Option. Gladstone had been, at least nominally, re- 
sponsible for the introduction of the Local Veto Bill. 
But in this letter, after pronouncing in favour of strong 
drink being sold for the public profit only, which is the 
Gothenburg system, he went on to stigmatise a mere 
limitation in the number of drink shops, ' the idol of 
the public for the last twenty years,' as little better 
than an imposture if it claimed to be a perfect remedy. 

The subject, however, which most interested him 
in his retirement was the persecution of the Armenian 
Christians by the Sultan of Turkey. On December 29, 
his eighty-fifth birthday, he received at Hawarden an 
Armenian deputation, and spoke with an eloquence 
worthy of his prime. Denouncing the recent massacres 
by Kurds in Armenia, who were undoubtedly instigated 
by the Porte, he said they were as bad as anything 
that had happened in Bulgaria eighteen years before. 
He warned the Sultan that he was rushing on his own 
destruction, and he recalled the fact that, during his 
own lifetime, the Turkish Empire had been diminished 
by more than half. What was left of it, he exclaimed, 
was a disgrace to civilisation, and a curse to mankind. 

On June 14, 1895, Gladstone went, in Sir Donald 

X 2 



308 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

Currio's ship, the ' Tantallon Castle/ to Hamburg, for 
the opening of the Baltic Canal, and, though not 
supposed to be a popular statesman in Germany, was 
received with great enthusiasm by the inhabitants. 
On June 18 the political world was startled by an 
announcement in the ' Times ' that he had cancelled 
his pair with Mr. Yilliers. No authentic explanation 
of this step was given, and it was not of much political 
mport ance, as Mr. Yilliers had long ceased to attend 
the House. But it was asserted, and not denied, that 
Gladstone considered the Bill for the disestablishment 
of the Welsh Church, then in Committee, to be unduly 
harsh in some of its provisions. After the dissolution 
of ParUament, on July 8, Gladstone, who took no 
part in the General Election, retired permanently to 
Hawarden, and occupied himself with the foundation of 
St. Deiniol's Library, intended for theological students. 
In the deed by which he established the library, he 
expressed the opinion that theology should be studied 
in connection with history and philosophy. Its shelves, 
therefore, contain historical and philosophical books as 
well as works on divinity. He further explained that, 
though primarily intended for members of the Church 
of England, he wished it to be open to other Christian 
Churches, and even to those who were not Christians. 
But there is an honourable obligation upon all who 
avail themselves of it, not to use it for merely secular 



THE CLOSING YEABS 309 

purposes. Even in his eighty-sixth year Gladstone 
was still alive to the calls of humanity. The continu- 
ance of the Armenian massacres drew him from his 
repose, and at Chester, on August 6, he addressed a 
public meeting called to express horror at the conduct 
of the Sultan. The Duke of Westminster, an old 
political follower, who had been estranged from his 
chief by Home Eule, but who, like the Duke of Argyll, 
had been brought back to friendly alliance with him by 
this recent phase of the Eastern Question, was in the 
chair. Gladstone maintained that we had a right of 
interference under the Treaty of Paris, and that by the 
Anglo-Turkish Convention of 1878 we were not merely 
authorised, but bound, to protect the Asiatic subjects of 
the Porte. But moral considerations, he said, had no 
weight at Constantinople. The word 'ought' meant 
nothing there, the word ' must * meant everything. He 
returned to the subject on December 17, in a public 
letter, which ironically described the six Great Powers 
of Europe as prostrating themselves at the feet of the 
impotent Sultan. In 1896 Gladstone took part in a 
curious discussion, which led to no practical result, 
upon the validity of Anglican Orders. Leo XIII. 
had issued an Encyclical that was interpreted by 
Gladstone and others as implying an intention to 
inquire into the possibility of an English clergyman 
being recognised as a priest by the Church of Eome. 



310 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

Impressed by the urbanity characteristic of the Pope, 
Gladstone, in a letter to Cardinal BampoUa, the Papal 
Secretary of State, reviewed the history of the subject, 
and earnestly pleaded for a recognition which he 
thought might be a first step to the reunion of 
Christendom. This letter was published, on June 1, by 
the Archbishop of York, and considerably astonished 
Gladstone's Nonconformist admirers, who did not 
realise that, little as he cared for Establishments, he 
believed in the absolute necessity of a Church. The 
dignity, gravity, earnestness, and courtesy of the letter 
were universally admired. But ordinary Protestants 
could not understand what the Pope had to do with 
the Church of England, while his Holiness finally 
closed the discussion by intimating, with great polite- 
ness, that, for all Englishmen — clergymen and laity 
alike — the Church of Bome kept an open door. But 
those who entered it must do so upon the terms laid 
down by the Church, and not upon their own. Writing 
from Cannes, in March, 1897, Gladstone expressed his 
disappointment with a plainness and vigour which 
recalled the old days of the Vatican Pamphlet. On 
June 26, 1896, the Prince of Wales was installed as 
Chancellor of the new Welsh University at Aberystwith. 
Among the recipients of honorary degrees were the 
Princess of Wales, who received a degree in music, 
and Gladstone, who was greeted with the utmost 



THE CLOSING YEABS 311 

enthusiasm by the Welsh audience. At the end of 
August, the Sultan, taking advantage of an unimportant 
rising among the Armenians at Constantinople, ordered 
a general butchery of the Armenian residents in the 
city. This horrible crime, committed almost under 
the eyes of the Ambassadors of the Great Powers, who 
could do nothing to stop it, drew Gladstone once more 
into the political arena. On September 24 he spoke, 
with undiminished eloquence and power, to a mass 
meeting of 6,000 persons in Hengler's Circus at Liver- 
pool. The meeting was composed of both political 
parties, and the Lord Mayor, the Earl of Derby (a 
Conservative) presided. Gladstone suggested that the 
British Ambassador should be recalled from Constanti- 
nople, and that the Turkish Ambassador in London 
should be given his passports. The Sultan, he said, 
could not defy united Europe, and if England would 
undertake not to seek any personal advantage for her- 
self, the Powers would not object even to her isolated 
interference. On the other hainfi, if they did, she 
would have done her duty, and could do no more. He 
followed up this argument in the 'Nineteenth Century ' 
for October, strongly urging that this country was 
under a moral obligation to intervene, and that if she 
did not discharge it, the word honour should be dropped 
from the language. The speech and article, though 
they had no visible effect upon the policy of Lord 



312 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

Salisbury's Government, produced a result which Glad- 
stone could scarcely have anticipated. For they were 
among the reasons given by Lord Bosebery, in his 
valedictory speech at Edinburgh, for retiring from the 
leadership of the Liberal Party. Lord Bosebery in- 
timated his dissent from Gladstone's proposals, which 
would, in his opinion, have led to a European war. 
This was on October 8, and on the 19th, at a meeting 
in St. James's Hall, with the Bishop of Bochester in 
the chair, a letter from Gladstone was read replying 
to Lord Bosebery, though not by name. Premising 
that he desired not to attack the Government, but to 
strengthen Lord Salisbury's hands, he described the 
Sultan as the great assassin, and announced as a ' wild 
paradox ' the fear of war. During the year 1896 there 
appeared, in two instalments, Gladstone's contribution 
towards the study of Bishop Butler, to whose dry and 
bracing philosophy he had been devoted since his 
Oxford days. 

Early in the year the Clarendon Press published 
his edition, in two volumes, of the 'Analogy' and 
the * Sermons,' with brief explanatory notes, a re- 
arrangement of the text in paragraphs, and a complete 
index, which must have been a work of enormous 
labour. Soon afterwards there came out an additional 
volume called 'Studies Subsidiary to the Works of 
Bishop Butler,' in which Gladstone defended the 



THE CLOSING YEABS 313 

Bishop against some of his modem critics, and entered 
at large into modem speculations on the inmiortality 
of the soul. 

In 1897, though his published utterances were 
almost entirely confined to the new phase of the 
Eastern Question, Gladstone spoke at Hawarden, on 
May 4, in favour of the Bishop of St. Asaph's Diocesan 
Fund; and at Queen's Ferry, on June 2, when the 
Victoria Jubilee Bridge was opened over the Dee. On 
March 13, in a letter to the Duke of Westminster, he 
paid an eloquent tribute to 'the recent and marvellously 
gallant action of Greece,' in going to the assistance of 
Crete. 'She has made it impossible,' he wrote, 'to 
palter with this question as we paltered with the 
blood-stained question of Armenia. She has extricated 
it from the meshes of diplomacy, and placed it on the 
order of the day for definitive solution. I can remem- 
ber no case in which so small a State has conferred 
so great a benefit.' Greece, however, fell an easy prey 
to the superior discipline of the Turkish Army, and, on 
September 21, Gladstone summed up the previous two 
years of Eastern policy in the following words : ' First, 
100,000 Armenians slaughtered, with no security 
against repetition, and great profit to the Assassin. 
Secondly, Turkey stronger than at any time since the 
Crimean War. Thirdly, Greece weaker than at any 
time since she became a kingdom. Fourthly, all this 



314 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

due to the European Concert : that is, the mutual 
distrust and hatred of the Powers/ Crete, however, 
was liberated from Turkey, and, after a period of 
government by European admirals, was placed under 
the control of a Christian administrator. Prince Greorge 
of Greece. 

Gladstone's speech at Queen's Ferry, on June 2, 
was the last he delivered. In the smnmer of 1897 
he suffered very acute pain, supposed at first to be 
neuralgia, and, in November, he went again to Cannes 
for the benefit of the southern sun. But he grew 
worse ; and in February, 1898, returned to England. 
At Bournemouth, on March 18, the doctors told him 
that the pain was due to a disease which must soon 
prove fatal, and on the 22nd he returned to Hawarden 
a dying man. The remaining weeks of his life were 
spent chiefly in religious devotion, fortified by the 
rites of the English Church ; and early in the morning 
of Ascension Day (May 19) he died. Among the in- 
numerable messages which he received during his last 
illness was a unanimous vote of sympathy passed by 
the Senate of Italy, the country to which, after the 
United Kingdom, his greatest services had been 
rendered. On the day of his death the House of 
Commons at once adjourned as a mark of respect to 
his memory. On May 20 an address was carried by 
both Houses for a public funeral and national monu- 



THE GLOBING TEAEB 315 

ment in WeBtminster Abbey. On this occasion 
BpeecheB were delivered upon Gladstone's character 
and career by the leading members of the House of 
Lords and the House of Conmions. The most 
interesting, because the most personal, was Lord 
Eosebery's. But Mr. Balfour's, which was read from 
manuscript, is careful, appreciative, and valuable to 
the historian. 

On May 25, Gladstone's body was brought from 
Hawarden to London, and the cofi&n was placed in 
Westminster Hall. During the 26th and 27th the 
Hall was open to the pubhc, an unbroken procession 
moved round the bier, and it was estimated that a 
quarter of a million people joined in it. On Saturday, 
May 28, Gladstone was buried in the Abbey, and laid 
in ' Statesmen's Comer,' where the public, appropriately 
enough, pass daily over his grave. Mrs. Gladstone was 
able to be present at the funeral, which was attended 
by both Houses of ParUament, though not in State. 
The Queen was represented by the Lord Steward, the 
Earl of Pembroke. The pall-bearers were the Prince 
of Wales and his son the Duke of York ; Lord Salisbury, 
Lord Kimberley , Mr. Balfour, and Sir WilHam Harcourt 
(the f otir leaders of the two Houses) ; Lord Eosebery, his 
immediate successor in the Premiership, and the Duke 
of Butland, his former colleague in the representation 
of Newark ; Lord Bendel and Mr. Armitstead, two of 



316 LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 

his most intimate friends. The Queen, writing to 
Mrs. Gladstone, said : ' I shall ever gratefully remember 
his devotion and zeal in all that concerned my per- 
sonal welfare and that of my family.' The ceremony 
was none the less impressive because, in obedience to 
Gladstone's wishes, it was conducted with the utmost 
simplicity and all possible avoidance of pomp. 

Gladstone was for the greater part of his life a 
frequent, though irregular, contributor to reviews and 
magazines. Most of these contributions, except such 
as were avowedly controversial or purely classical, he 
republished through Mr. Murray under the title of 
' Gleanings from Past Years.' The seven volumes of 
the * Gleanings * appeared in 1879. An eighth and 
supplementary volume was printed in 1890. This 
collection of essays, ranging over forty years, and 
dealing with a great variety of subjects, contains much 
which is only interesting because Gladstone vnrote it, 
some literary criticisms which have a permanent value, 
and a few constitutional essays of the highest possible 
importance. Several competent judges have expressed 
the opinion that Gladstone's article on Leopardi, in 
the ' Quarterly Eeview ' for March, 1850, is the high- 
water mark of his critical capacity. It is a singularly 
interesting study of a strange, brilliant, and pathetic 
career. Count Giacomo Leopardi, bom in 1798, died 
in 1837, a year younger than Byron. He was subject 



THE CLOSING YBABS 317 

to constitutional melancholy, and his life was a long 
disease. But in a time when classical scholarship was 
almost dead in Italy, he was amongst the profoundest 
scholars of the age. His poetry has been compared, 
for condensation, with Dante, and his prose, for lucidity, 
with Galileo's. It is characteristic of Gladstone that, 
while doing full justice in eloquent language to 
Leopardi's genius, at once precocious and mature, he 
devotes many pages to a refutation of the young poet's 
pessimistic paganism, and to an exposure of the 
mendacious narrative by which a Jesuit priest repre- 
sented him as a tardy convert to the Church. Gladstone 
was always an ardent Tennysonian, and in October, 
1859, on the appearance of the * Idylls,' he wrote for 
the * Quarterly Eeview ' a comprehensive survey of the 
poems which Tennyson had then published, including 
* The Princess, ' * In Memoriam, ' and * Maud. ' Although 
the general tone of the article was laudatory, and even 
enthusiastic, Gladstone felt it his duty to protest against 
the glorification of war which he found in *Maud.' 
But he recognised the unfairness of attributing to an 
author opinions dramatically expressed, and in a note, 
added twenty years afterwards, he admitted that he 
had done less than justice to the poem. Tennyson, 
he said, with genuine insight, was the severest of his 
own critics, and he attributed to him, in common with 
Homer and Dante, the ' power of purging out vulgarity 



318 LIFE OP W. B GLADSTONE 

from ideas ordinarily tinged with it.' The ' Quarterly 
Review ' for July, 1876, contains the follest, fairest, 
and most original estimate passed upon Sir George 
Trevelyan's ' Life of Macaulay/ Gladstone's personal 
acquaintance with Macaulay was slight ; but they 
had been brought into friendly correspondence by 
Macaulay's review of Gladstone's first book, and they 
had sat together for many years in the House of 
Commons. Although the general account of Macaulay 
as a historian, politician, and man of letters, is appre- 
ciative and judicial, the portion of the article most 
distinctively Gladstonian is a powerful and ingenious 
argument to prove that Macaulay had in his history 
underrated the social position of the clergy. 

Gladstone's constitutional essays consist of three 
articles upon three successive volumes of Sir Theodore 
Martin's 'Life of the Prince Consort,' and of one 
article in the * North American Eeview ' called ' Kin 
beyond Sea.' The first chapter in what is really a 
Prime Minister's commentary upon the former half of 
the Queen's reign, appeared in the 'Contemporary 
Eeview ' of June, 1875, and was signed ' Etonensis.' In 
it Gladstone contrasted the present powers of the 
British monarchy with those which it had wielded in 
the past, and described the change as the substitution 
of influence for authority. When the second volume 
of Sir Theodore's book appeared, Gladstone wrote a 



THE CLOSING YEARS 319 

notice of it in the 'Church Quarterly Keview' for 
January, 1877. In this he examined the constitu- 
tional doctrines of Baron Stockmar, who was on inti- 
mate terms with the Prince, and who endeavoured, 
rather crudely, to reconstruct the British Constitution 
on a German model. Gladstone passes over this 
enterprise with courteous irony, suggesting that the 
time had gone by for Bolingbroke's patriot king. 
But he takes the opportunity of pointing out what 
seemed to him really a dangerous innovation, in the 
fact that the House of Commons had taken upon itself 
to propose an increase of public expenditure. For, 
although it was still impossible that any private 
member should move an addition to the Estimates, he 
might commit the House to an abstract vote which 
would involve the outlay of millions. Exactly a year 
later, in January, 1878, Gladstone contributed to the 
same periodical a review of Sir Theodore Martin's third 
volume. This instalment of the Prince's biography 
covers the period of the Crimean War, and therefore 
gave Gladstone an opportunity for putting on paper 
the doctrines he had repeatedly expressed in speeches, 
that the object of the campaign was to vindicate public 
law in Europe. Eussia, he said, set herself in opposi- 
tion to all the other Great Powers. It was only be- 
cause no material help could be obtained from Austria, 
and no help whatever from Prussia, that England and 



820 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

France were left to act on behalf of the whole Western 
continent. The third volume also gave Gladstone 
occasion for enforcing the views he alwajns held on 
public economy, and for pointing out that the panics 
due to fear of invasion had become greater with the 
progress of extravagance. Li 'Kin beyond Sea,'^ 
Gladstone compares the British and American Con- 
stitutions. He begins by describing the United States 
as England's only commercial rival, and predicts for 
them the future primacy in conmierce. The great 
obstacle to their achievement of it was, he thought. 
Protection. The chief interest of the article, however, 
lies in Gladstone's account of the Cabinet, which con- 
stitutional historians ignore, as an essential element in 
the working of the Constitution. The Cabinet on his 
testimony, than which none can be higher, stands 
between Parliament and the Crown as a necessary 
and sufficient link. The function which the Cabinet 
performs for the Sovereign and the Legislature de- 
volves upon the Prime Minister as a medium between 
the Sovereign and his colleagues. Whatever dijBferences 
of opinion there may have been in the Cabinet, the 
Premier conveys to the Throne a uniform and col- 
lective judgment. 

The best portrait of Gladstone was painted by 
Millais in 1879, and hangs in the National Gallery. It 

* North American Review, September, 187S. 



THE CLOSING YBAES 321 

was sold by the first Duke of Westminster to Sir 
Charles Tennant, who gave it to the nation. Glad- 
stone, though not tall, was above the middle height, 
broad-shouldered, but otherwise slight in figure, and 
muscular, with no superfluous flesh. He was gifted 
with an abundance of physical strength, and enjoyed 
throughout his life remarkably good health. His hair, 
in his youth and the prime of his manhood, was black. 
His complexion was pale, almost pallid, and an artist 
compared it with alabaster. His eyes were large, lus- 
trous, and piercing ; not quite black, but resembling 
agate in colour. His face, always handsome, acquired 
in old age an expression of singular dignity, majesty, 
and power. His voice, naturally musical and melodious, 
gained by practice an almost unexampled range of 
compass and variety. Scarcely any building was too 
large for it to fill, and at a meeting in the open air it 
could be heard by many thousands with perfect ease. 
Yet he could modulate it at will, and even sink it to a 
whisper without ceasing to be audible. There were 
traces in its tone of his Lancashire origin, especially 
in the pronunciation of the word * sir,' which he had so 
often to employ. But its marvellous richness always 
fell pleasantly on the ear. His manners were courteous, 
even ceremonious, and to women habitually deferential. 
He was a great stickler for social precedence, and would 
not go out of the room before a peer of his own crea- 

Y 



322 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

tion. Bishops, and, indeed, all clergymen, he treated 
v^ith peculiar respect. His temper, though qnick, and, 
as he himself said, 'vulnerable,* was in private life 
almost invariably under perfect control. In Parlia- 
ment he sometimes gave way to indignation, for his 
wrath was kindled by public causes, and not by any- 
thing petty or personal. His talk was copious, Incid, 
and full of phrases which stamped themselves npon the 
memory. He was earnest and eager in argument, 
tenacious of his proposition, but ready to hear anything 
which could be said against it. Hard to convince at 
the time, he often came round afterwards to the view 
of an opponent, and would then make the admission 
with the utmost candour. He was a good listener as 
well as a good talker, and he had the instantaneous 
rapidity of perception supposed to be characteristic of 
great lawyers. His range of study, though it excluded 
physical science, was very wide, and his acquaintance 
with a subject was hardly ever superficial. He used to 
say that he had not a good verbal memory ; but he 
was seldom guilty of a misquotation, and he retained 
in his mind with accuracy an enormous number of 
facts. No scholar in Europe had a more thorough 
knowledge of Homer, and few, even of Italians, were 
so well versed in Dante. He was an acute and learned 
theologian. The defect of his conversation was that he 
could not help being earnest on all subjects, and failed 



■ 



THE CLOSING YEAES 323 

to see that his views on the making of violins were less 
interesting than his experience of government by 
Cabinet. In combined breadth and subtlety of intellect 
no statesman of his own, or perhaps of any, age sur- 
passed him. He was equally at home in drawing up 
a great measure Uke the Irish Land Act of 1881, and 
in refining upon the point whether the retention of the 
Irish Members under Home Eule was a principle, or an 
* organic detail.' Sometimes his subtlety led him to 
draw sophistical distinctions. His minute and punc- 
tilious scrupulosity in the smallest things often led to 
charges of equivocation, and the very completeness 
with which he defended himself against them pro- 
duced a vague sense of distrust. Though himself the 
best abused man in England, his own judgments were 
uniformly charitable, and he was seldom heard to say 
anything harsh of a political opponent in private. 
It has sometimes been alleged that Gladstone had 
no humour. Such a broad and unquahfied state- 
ment is certainly untrue. Irony is a form of humour, 
and of irony he was a master. But it is true that his 
sense of humour was fitful and capricious. Many 
forms of it did not appeal to him. Wiih all his love 
of poetry he had a literal mind, and was too apt to 
assume that people meant exactly what they said. 
Lord Houghton once spoke of the humorists who had 
taken the chair at the Cobden Club ' from Dickens down 

Y 2 



324 LIFE OP W. B. GLADSTONE 

to Gladstone/ Two of Gladstone's speeches may be 
mentioned which, read in cold blood at a great distance 
of time, would make anybody laugh. One is his satirical 
description of Lord PaImerston*s attitude to Keform in 
1859. The other is his reply to Mr. Chaplin's personal 
attack in 1877. Gladstone's favourite form of recreation 
was turning from one kind of mental employment to 
another. He was an omnivorous reader of ancient and 
modem languages, prose and poetry, history and bio- 
graphy, sermons and novels. In the ' Temple of Peace,' 
as he called his ample library at Hawarden, he was 
always happy. As a young man he rode and shot, 
though he never became a sportsman. He cared 
little for games. Chess he thought too serious for an 
amusement, but he sometimes played whist with 
concentration. His favourite pastime of cutting down 
trees was begun in the woods of Clumber, which he 
inspected as the Duke of Newcastle's trustee. Till 
after seventy he was a great walker, and no stretch, 
however long, seemed to tire him. Wordsworth's 
plain living and high thinking was Gladstone's standard. 
His father left him a sufficient fortune, which exempted 
him from the necessity of adopting any other profession 
than politics. Hawarden Castle, his Welsh home, 
belonged to his wife*s brother, Sir Stephen Glynne, 
and, after he died unmarried, to Mrs. Gladstone for 
her life. His habits were simple and domestic. He 



THE CLOSING YEAES 325 

was a regular church-goer, even on week-days, and 
on Sundays he usually read the Lessons. He was 
frugal without being abstemious, but against luxury 
and ostentation he set his face. He spent a large 
proportion of his income on books, and gave away 
a still larger in charity. But he had enough of the 
commercial spirit to drive a good bargain, and was 
in all respects an excellent man of business. He was 
not, however, in the ordinary sense, a man of the 
world. He approached moral questions rather as a 
clergyman than as a layman, and in dealing with in- 
dividuals he wanted the tact which he displayed in 
dealing with assemblies. He had a bad memory for 
faces, and he did not always pay the personal attention 
which political followers of the less elevated kind expect. 
His power was over masses ; and no one quite knows 
what he was who has ,not heard him address a great 
public meeting. Even in the House of Commons, though 
he almost always delighted it, and at times roused it to 
such enthusiasm as no one else could elicit, he often 
provoked antagonism which he might have avoided. 
He could not, as Disraeli said that Peel could, play 
upon the House like an old fiddle. Having entered 
public life a Tory, and left it a Badical, Gladstone was 
naturally accused of being an ' opportimist,' or, in plain 
English, a time-server. Such an accusation is incon- 
sistent with his whole character, except on the hygo- 



THE CLOSING YEAES 327 

six must cope with it. He could not have expected 
that he would live to be eighty-eight. There was, at 
least, one sphere in which Gladstone's mind did not 
fluctuate. From the straight line of orthodox Christi- 
anity he never swerved by the breadth of a hair. The 
Christian religion guided every day and every act of 
his life. He was, as Lord SaUsbury said, after his 
death, * a great Christian man.* As an orator, Glad- 
stone's only contemporary rival was John Bright. 
But it is difficult to compare them. Gladstone was 
always speaking, and usually had to speak, whether he 
liked it or not. Bright could choose his own subject 
and his own time. Bright's style was simpler, and his 
English perhaps purer than Gladstone's ; but his 
range was much narrower, he seldom argued, and he 
never debated. Gladstone was great in Parliament, 
great on a platform, great even in those occasional 
addresses on miscellaneous topics which are apt to 
drive the most paradoxical into platitude. There was 
no audience which he could not charm, none to which 
he did not instinctively adapt himself. His fault as an 
orator was a tendency to diffusiveness, and in particular 
to the employment of two words where one would do. 
But when he was pressed for time, no one could be 
terser, and his speeches of close reasoning or of pure 
exposition scarcely contain a superfluous syllable. His 
oratorical method and arrangement were borrowed from 



328 LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 

Peel. The fire, the energy, the enthnsiasm, the fndon 
of reason and passion, the intense and glowing mindi 
were all his own. 

As a financier, Gladstone can only be compared with 
Walpole, Pitt, and Peel. Walpole's great speech on the 
Peerage Bill has been coupled with Gladstone's speech 
on the taxation of charities as the best examples of 
abstract reasoning addressed to the House of Commons. 
Gladstone's first financial statement, made in 1853, 
shows that he had carefully studied the principles 
of Pitt's financial legislation. He was the pupil and 
disciple of Sir Robert Peel, whose labours in pro- 
moting the freedom of commerce he continued and 
completed. His intellectual supremacy was never 
more fully shown than in framing and carrying the 
Budgets of 1853, 1860, and 1861. Gladstone's principal 
defect as a statesman was that, with the two great 
exceptions of Italian independence and the rescue of 
Eastern Christians from the rule of the Porte, he 
paid no continuous attention to foreign afihirs. He 
trusted too much to his old and tried friend, Lord 
Granville, who, though able and tactful, was dilatory 
and procrastinating. A critic, even a friendly critic* 
might say of Gladstone that he tried to do too many 
things at a time. From 1886 to 1894, Home Bule 
absorbed him, and he considered almost every 



THE CLOSING YEAES 329 

subject as it affected that great issue. But at other 
periods, even when he was Prime Minister, he occupied 
his scanty leisure with art, with theological specula- 
tions, with literature, with historical research, and 
with practical philanthropy. In his zeal to reclaim 
the fallen, and to console the wretched, he did what 
no man of the world would have dared to do without 
fear of misconstruction, or even of scandal. Indeed, 
he did not know what fear was. As Lord Bosebery 
said of him, he was the bravest of the brave. During 
his second Government he was in serious danger of 
assassination. But the only thing which troubled and 
annoyed him was the discovery that he was under the 
special protection of the police. When his doctor 
told him, in 1894, that he had cataract, he desired 
him to operate then and there, that he might 
resume, as soon as possible, 'the great gift of 
working vision.' He loved popularity, having come 
to believe more and more as he advanced in years 
that the instincts of the people were, on broad ques- 
tions, right, and their judgment in the long run sound. 
But, in 1878, he set himself dehberately against a 
wave of public enthusiasm which he thought mis- 
taken, with the result that he was hardly safe in the 
streets of London. No English statesman hdiS been 
more fervently adored or more intensely hated than 



330 LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 

Gladstone. While bis political admirers were extolling 
him to sympathetic crowds as equal or superior to the 
most illustrious of the human race, he was being 
accused in anonymous letters of the foulest crimes. 
Even his religion, like the very different religion of 
Cromwell, was set down in some quarters as the basest 
hypocrisy. But his personal enemies, as distinguished 
from his political opponents, were men who did not 
know him. Of his personal friends, at different periods 
of his life, the most conspicuous were Arthur Hallam, 
Alfred Tennyson, Samuel Wilberforce, and John 
Morley. The inunortal phrase of the Boman bio- 
grapher cannot be applied to Gladstone. He was not 
' happy in the occasion of his death.' The cause on 
which he bestowed the last years of his health and 
strength was submerged ; the party which he had led 
was shattered in pieces. Peel broke up his party, but 
he carried Free Trade. Gladstone did not live to carry 
Home Kule. The list of his legislative achievements 
stops at 1885. But what a list it is ! He reformed 
the tariff of his country ; he was the real author of 
household suffrage ; he gave lireland religious equality 
and agrarian justice ; he established the system of 
elementary education ; he protected the voter by the 
ballot ; he made the Army a national institution ; he 
restored efficiency to the House of Commons ; he gave 
the franchise to the agricultural labourer. He was a 



THE CLOSING TEAES 331 

demagogue in the proper sense of the term, a true leader 
of the people. He exhorted them always to employ 
the political freedom which he had so largely given 
them, less for their own material advancement than 
for the best and highest interests of mankind. 



»• 



I 'j 



INDEX 



Abbas Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, 

288 
Abercromby, Mr., 11 
Aberdaxe, Lord, 126 
Aberdeen, Lord, 10, 29, 38-41, 

45-47, 63, 70, 135, 228, 262 
Acland, Arthur, 286 
— Sir Thomas, 4 
Acton, Lord, 133 
Afghanistan, Ameer of, 152, 153 
Aloester, Lord, 195 
Alexander II., Emperor of Eussia, 

176 
Althorp, Lord, 7, 9 (see also under 

Spencer, Lord) 
Ampthill, Lord, 149 
AncbriLssy, Count, 135 
Arabi Pasha, 195, 196 
Argyll, Duke of, 180, 208, 309 
Aristophanes, 95 
Aristotle, 65 
Armitstead, Mr., 315 
Ashbourne, Lord, 257 
Ashley, Evelyn, 147 
Asquith, Mr., 272, 285-290, 302 
Austria, Emperor of, 161 
Avebury, Lord, 141 
Ayrton, Mr., 102 



Baimes, Snt Edwabd, 87 
Balfour, Mr., 192, 226, 248, 253, 

266, 267-269, 273-281, 301, 315 
Baring, Mr., 137 
Baring, Sir Evelyn (afterwards 

Lord Cromer), 202, 288 



Baxter, Mr., 104 

Beaconsfield, Lord, x, 5-10, 23, 34, 
41-48, 67-87, 98-111, 125-137, 
144-161, 169-176, 194, 326 

Benedetti, Monsieur, 116 

Benson, Archbishop, 18, 197, 208 

Bessborough, Lord, 171, 179 

Bethell, Sir Bichard (afterwards 
Lord Westbnry), 61 

Biggar, Mr., 173 

Bismarck, Prince, 116, 149 

Bolingbroke, Lord, 319 

Bouverie, Mr., 104 

Bovill, Chief Justice, 119 

Bowring, Sir John, 58, 76 

Bowyer, Sir George, 81 

Bradlaugh, Mr., 166-168, 182-186, 
198-201, 207, 219, 220, 276 

Bradley, Dr. (Dean of Westmin- 
ster), 113 

Brand, President, 177, 178 

— Sir Henry (Speaker of the 
House of Commons), 173, 204 

Bright, Jacob, 118 

— John, 64, 59, 67, 68, 93, 100, 
107-114, 164, 196, 228, 257, 258, 
327 

Briscoe, Bev. Bobert, 6 

Brodrick, Mr., 207 

Brougham, Lord, 233 

Bruce, BIr. (afterwards Lord Aber- 

dare), 126 
Bryce, Mr., 293 
Buocleuch, Duke of, 103, 156 
Buckingham, Duke of, 23, 70 
Buller, Sir Bedvers, 242, 250 



334 



LIFE OP W. E. GLADSTONE 



Burke, Sfr., 189 
Bart. Mr., 885 
Batler, Bishop, viii, 313 
Batt, Mr., 248 
Byng, Mr., 73 
Bjron, Lord, 316 



Caixb, Mr., 208 

Cairns, Lord, 111, 112, 208-210 

Callan, Mr., 288 

Cambridge, Duke of, 84 

CampbeU-Baonemuui, Mr., 230, 

301 
Canning, Charles (afterwards Earl 

Canning), 8, 4, 42 
Canning, Qeorge, 4, 287 
CardweU, Mr. (afterwards Lord 

CardweU), 54, 108, 164 
Carlingford, Lord, 180 
Carlyle, Mr., 139 
Carnarvon, Lord, 100, 107, 111, 

144. 145, 220, 227, 253 
Cartwright, Mr., 155 
Cavagnari, Sir Louis, 157 
Cavendish, Lord Frederick, 166, 

188,189 
Cavour, M., 40 
Cecil, Lord Bobert (see under 

Cranbome, Lord) 
Cetewayo, Eiiig of the Zulus, 205 
Chahners, Dr., 14 
Chamberlain, Joseph, 164, 191, 

199, 210, 222-237, 245, 246, 278, 

296 
Chandos, Lord, 70 (see also under 

Buckingham, Duke of) 
Chaplin, Mr., 140, 324 
Chester, Bishop of, 307 
Childers, Mr., 197, 217-220, 229 
Christian, King of Denmark, 87 
Churchill, Lord Bandolph, 181, 

207, 210, 220, 236, 242, 247, 

290,326 
Clarence, Duke of, 212, 262 
Clarendon, Lord, 47, 50, 115 
Clark, Dr., 259 
Cobden, Mr., 25, 30, 58, 59, 68-72, 

80, 89, 258 



Coekbum, Chief Jnstiee, 119-121 
Coleridge, Mr. (affierwmids Lori 

Coleridge), 101 
CoUey, Sir George, 177 
Collier, Mr. (afterwmids Lori 

Monkswell), 119 
Collings, Jesse, 287, 228 
Conybeue, Mr., 859 
Cookson, Mr., 195 
Courtney, Mr^ 218, 297 
Cowan, Sir John, 906 
Cowen, Mr., 173 
Cowper, JjNd, 187 
Cranbome, Lord, 100, 108 
Cranbrook, Earl of, 91, 92 (Baealso 

under Hardy, Ghithome) 
Crawford, Mr., 102 
Crispi, Signor, 264 
Cromer, Lord (see under Bariiur 

Sir Evelyn) ^^' 

Cromwell, Ohver, 330 
Cross, Mr. (afterwards Lord Cross) 

108 ' 

Currie, Sir Donald, 200, 308 



D'AOUESSKAU, Chakcku[x>b, 35 

Dalhousie, Lord, 830 

Dalkeith, Lord, 156, 163 

Dalrymple, Mr., 223 

Dante, 12, 317, 322 

Davey, Horace (afterwards Lotd 

Davey), 182 
Davis, Jefferson, 7, 82 
Davitt, Michael, 174 
Denison, Archdeacon, 46 
Denmark, King Christian of, 87, 
Derby,Lord,x, 41-45, 53, 58, 63-69, 

75, 80-82, 91-99, 104, 111, 

140-147, 160, 184, 197, 204-211, 

307 (see also under Stanley) 
Devonshire, Duke of, 68, 297, 303 

(see also under Hartinffton, 

Lord) 
Dickens, Charles, 323 
Dilke, Sir Charles, 156, 164, 196, 

204, 211 
Dnion, John, 173-174, 198, 839, 

244,255 



INDEX 



335 



DiUwyn, Mr., 88, 106 

Disraeli, Benjamin (see under 

Beaconsfield, Lord) 
Dodson, Mr. (afterwards Lord 

Monk-Bretton), 196 
DoUinger, Dr., 242 
Donoughmore, Lord, 186 
Dopping, Mr., 252 
Doyle, Sir Francis, 4 
Drummond, Mr., 61 
Du Cane, Mr., 73 
Dunkellin, Lord, 97 



Egan, Mb., 288 

Elgin, Lord, 76 

Ellenborough, Lord, 63 

EUiot, Sir Henry, 138, 143, 146, 

161, 162 
Estcourt, Mr., 31 
Evans, Sir de Lacy, 41 
Exeter, Bishop of (Dr. Temple), 

112 



Farini, 41 

Fawcett, Henry, 117, 125, 164 

Ferdinand II., King of the Two 

Sicilies, 39-40 
Fitzgerald, Baron, 190 
— Lord, 24 
Forster, Mr., 114, 126, 146, 

168-172, 188-192, 203 
Fowler, Mr., 300 
Fox, Charles James, 59, 64 
Eraser, Dr., 113 
Frederick, Emperor of Germany, 

255 
Freeman, Mr., 138 
Prere, Sir Bartle, 157 
Fust, Sir Herbert Jenner, 34 



Gaisfobd, Dr., 4 

Galileo, 317 

Gaskell, Milne, 3 

George, King of Greece, 66, 80 

Gibson, Milner, 49 

Gladstone, Herbert, 225 



Gladstone, John (afterwards Sir 
John Gladstone), 1, 6 

— Mrs. {n4e Anne Eobertson), 1 

— Mrs. (n^e Catherine Glynne), 16, 

98, 263, 315, 316, 324 

— Sir Thomas, 2, 8 

— William Henry, 109 
Glynne, Sir Stephen, 16, 324 
Gordon, General, 201-203, 213, 

214, 223 
Gorham, Mr., 34, 35 
Gortschakoff, Prince, 146 
Goschen, Mr., 89, 164, 165, 203, 

228, 249, 254 
Goulburn, Mr., 22 
Graham, Sir James, 44, 54, 109 
Grant, President, 122 
Granville, Lord, 69, 75, 116-117, 

129, 134, 163-165, 204, 209-211, 

228, 328 
Grattan, 291 
Greece, King George of, 66, 80 

— King Otho of, 66 

— Prince George of, 314 

Grey, Earl de (afterwards Marquis 

of Ripon), 118, 119 
Grey, Lord 8, 29 (see also under 
Howick, Lord) 

— Sir Edward, 257, 263, 286 

— Sir George, 108, 117 
Gros, Baron, 76 

Grosvenor, Lord, 94, 95 (see also 

under Westminster, Duke of) 
Grote, George, 17, 65 
Gurney, Bussell, 130 



Haldane, Mb., 257 

Halifax, Lord, 44 

Hallam, Arthur, 

Hamilton, Bishop, 2 

— Lord George, 140, 165, 300 

Hampton, Lord, 101 

Haroourt, Sir WiUiam, 131, 164, 

174-176, 189, 245, 246, 261, 266, 

270-273, 315 
Hardy, Gathome (afterwards Earl 

of Cranbrook), 91, 92, 140 
Harrison, Mr., 259 



336 



LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE 



Hartington, Lord, 08. 1»4, 141, 

148-156, 1G3, 104, 170, 197, 215, 

336-2*2H, 235. 241. 246, 261 (see 

also under Devonshire, Dake of) 
Harvey, Mr., 121 
Hatherley, Lord, 108, 110, 122 
Hawkins, Dr., 00, 70 
Hayter, Captain (afterwards Sir 

Arthur Hayter), 97 
Healy, Mr., 200 
Heathcote, Sir William, 91 
Henderson, Sir Edmund, 229 
Henley, Mr., 07 
Hennessy (afterwards Sir) John 

Pope, 78 
Herbert, Sidney, 35, 53, 54 
Herschell, Lord, 245, 294 
— Sir Farrer, 228 
Heywood, Mr., 39 
Hioks-Beach, Sir Michael, 178, 170. 

203,217-220, 227, 237, 247, 248, 

293 
Hicks Pasha, 201 
Hobhonse, Thomas, 20 
Hodgkinson, Mr., 102 
Homer, 12, 63-65, 139, 266, 278, 

317, 322 
Hope, James (afterwards Mr. 

Hope-Scott, Q.C.), 14, 18, 35 
Hopwood, Mr., 220 
Horace, 305 
Horsfall, Mr., 78 
Houghton, Lord, 15 
Howick, Lord (afterwards third 

Earl Grey], 7, 24 
Howley, Archbishop, 18 
Hume, Joseph, 8, 13, 37 
Hunter, Mr., 276 
Huskisson, Mr., 287 

Iddesleigh, Earl of, 247 (see also 

under Northcote, Sir Stafford) 
Inglis, Sir Bobert, 28, 31 
Ismail Pasha, 136 

James, Sib Henby, 228, 294 
Jevons, Stanley, 96 
Jowett, Benjamin, 92 



Kaboltz, Count, 165 

Kean, Charles, 82 

Keate, Dr., 2 

Keble, Mr., viii, 4, 35, 92 

Kenmare, Lord, 164 

Kimberley, Lord, 197, 315 

King, Locke, 41 

Knightly, Sir Bainald (aiterwards 

Lord Knightly), 97 
Komaroff, Oeneiral, 215 
Kruger, Mr., 178, 204 

Labouchebk, Henbt, 167, 178, 195, 

199, 263, 298 
Lachmann, 64 
Laing, Mr., 56, 102 
Lambert, Sir John, 212 
Lambton, Mr., 193 
Langdale, Lord, 34, 35 
Lansdowne, Lord, 40 
Lawson, Sir Wilfrid, 169, 170, 203, 

255 
Layard, Mr., 146, 147 
Lee, Sidney, v 
Leitrim, Lord, 148 
Leo XUL, Pope, 809 
Leopard!, Count (Hacomo, 316, 817 
Lewis, Sir George, 57 

— Sir George Gomewall, 3 
Liddell, Henry George (afterwardB 

Dean LiddeU), 4 
Liddon, Dr., 138 
Lincoln, Abraham, 83 

— Lord!, 4-6 

Lobengula, King of the Matabele, 

298 
Lowe, Mr. (afterwards Viscount 

Sherbrooke), 93-95, 108, 113, 

126, 127, 148, 164 
Lowell, Mr., 326 
Lowther, Mr., 289 
Lubbock, Sir John (afterwards 

Lord Avebury), 141 
Lucretius, 198 
Lumsden, Sir Peter, 215 
Lyndhurst, Lord, 10, 59, 75, 76 
Lyons, Mr., 251 

Lyttelton, Lady (n^ Mary Glynne), 
16 



INDEX 



337 



Lyttelton, Fourth Lord, 16, 86, 86, 
130 

Lytton, Sir Edward Bulwer (after- 
wards Lord Lytton), 49, 66, 149- 
153, 173 

Macaulay, Lobd, vii, 14, 15, 20, 37, 

64, 318 
— Zachary, 20 
Magee, Bishop, 111 
Maguire, Mr., 105 
Mahdi, the, 201-203, 214, 216 
Mahon, Lord (afterwards Lord 

Stanhope), 5 
Malmesbury, Lord, 68, 87 
Manchester, Bishop of (Dr. 

Frazer), 113 
Manners, Lord John, 20, 207, 211 

(see also under Butland, Duke 

of) 
Manners-Sutton, Sir Charles, 11 
Manning, Dr. (afterwards Car- 
dinal), 14, 35, 133, 204, 263 
Manzoni, 86 

Marlborough, Duke of, 159 
Marsham, Dr., 43 
Martin, Sir Theodore, 10, 318, 319 
Matthews, Mr., 277, 288 
McCarthy, Justin, 172, 264, 274- 

276, 286 
Melbourne, Lord, 8-11, 17, 20, 21, 

24, 291 
Mellor, Mr., 295 
Metternioh, 40 
Miall, Mr., 118 
Mill, Mr., 96, 103 
Millais, Sir John, 320 
Milner-Gibson, 59, 62, 70 
Molesworth, Sir William, 45 
Monk-Bretton, Lord, 196 
Monkswell, Lord, 119 
Monteagle, Lord, 13 
Morley, John, vi, 214-217, 228, 236, 

245, 255-263, 273-277, 286, 294, 

330 
Mountmorres, Lord, 171 
Mundella, Mr., 288, 298 
Murchison, Sir Roderick, 96 
Murray, John, 316 



Napoleon Buonapabte, 86 

— Louis, 43, 61, 71 

Napp, Eev. Henry Hartopp, 2 
Newcastle, Duke of, 6, 17, 29, 53, 

54, 324 
Newman, Dr., 4, 133 
Nicholas, Emperor of Eussia, 49, 
50, 116 

— Prince of Montenegro, 171 
Northbrook, Lord, 204, 216 
Northcote, Sir Stafford (afterwards 

Earl of Iddesleigh), 55, 119, 134, 
144-148, 165, 167, 168, 174, 
175, 181-185, 199-202, 210-214, 
247 

O'Brien, PeteR; 265 

— William, 289, '244 
O'Connell, Daniel, 12, 13, 183, 244, 

250 
O'Connor, T. P., 223 
O'Donnell, Mr., 148 
O'Kelly, Mr. 184 
Orsini, Felice, 61 
O'Shea, Captain, 191 
Osman Digna, 203 
Otho, King of Greece, 66 
Overstone, Lord, 81 

Pacipico, Don, 36 

Pakington, Sir John (afterwards 

Lord Hampton), 101 
Palles, Chief Baron, 247 
Palmer, Archdeacon, 266 
Palmer, Sir Roundell, 108, 118, 

121, 122 (see also imder Sel- 

bome. Lord) 
Palmerston,Lord,x, 7-9, 19, 29, 35, 

36, 40-62, 69, 74-81, 87, 92, 93, 

145, 291, 324 
Parker, Sir William, 36 
Parkes, Mr., 58 
ParneU, Charles Stewart, 155, 156, 

171-173, 181-184, 188-193, 222, 

239-247, 253-267, 273-275, 285 
Pattison, Mr,, 92 
Peel, General, 100 

— Arthur (Speaker of the House 

of Commons), 204, 220, 241 



338 



LIFE OF W. B. GLADSTONE 



Peel, Sir Robert, vii-x, 1-37, 44- 
50, r>4, 71, 100, 238, 305, 825-830 : 

Pembroke, Earl of, 815 

Penzance, Lord, 132 

Perceval, Dudley, 46 

Percy, Dr., 96 

Peto, Sir Morton, 83 

Phillpottfl, Dr., 34 

PiKott, Kichard, 260 , 

Pitt, William, 37, 47, 64, 72, 73, I 
328 

PiuH IX., Pope, 132 

Playfair, Mr., 193 

Plunket, Mr. (afterwards Lord 
Ilathmore), 186, 243 

Poerio, 40, 41, 256 

Price, Professor Bonamy, 180 

I'rince Consort, 10, 82, 318, 319 

Pusey, Dr., viii, 4, 35, 92, 278 



Rabelais, 24 

Rampollo, Cardinal, 810 

Ramsay, Dean, 18 

Rathmore, Lord (see also under 

Plunket, Mr.), 186 
Rawson, Rev. William, 1 
Redcliffe, Lord Stratford de, 50 
Redmond, Mr., 187 
Rendel, Lord, 315 
Ricardo, D., 180 
Riohmond, Duke of, 179, 210 
Ripon, Earl of, 22, 24, 126, 164, 

277 
Robertson, Andrew, 1 
Robinson, Sir Hercules (afterwards 

Lord Rosmead), 179 
Rochester, Bishop of, 312 
Roebuck, Mr., 17, 36, 37, 52-54 
Rogers, Dr. Guinness, 282 
Rosebery, Lord, 156, 213, 228, 

229, 285-287, 299, 304, 305, 312, 

315, 329 
Rothschild, Baron, 32 
— Messrs, 136 
Round, Mr., 31, 32 
Russell, Charles (afterwards Lord 
Russell of Eillowen), 173, 252, 
277 



Bussell, Gkorge, 198 

— Lord John, 11, 16, 34, 25, 29-83, 

89-57, 67-7a, 7B^S2, 87, W- 
97, 106, 108. 907 

— Lord Odo (afterwarit Lord 

Ampthill), 149 

— (afterwards Sir) WiUi«a 

Howard, 52 
Rutland, Duke of, S15 (tee ilio 

mider Manners, Ijord John) 
Rylands, Mr., 155, 177 



St. Asaph, Bishop of, 918 

St. Augustine, 12 

Salisbury, Lord, 107, 111, 117, 

130, 131. 138, 189, 146-155, 161, 

166, 170, 194, 204, 209-211. 218, 

219, 226-228, 241, 253, 263, 270, 

281, 282, 287, 303-806, 812-315, 

327 
Sandon, Lord. 19 
Say, M. Uon, 363 
Schurey, Mrs., 2 
Sclopis, Ck>ant, 122 
Sefton, Lord, 294 
Selbome. Lord, 122, 127, 164, 228, 

266 (see also under Palmer, Sir 

Roundell) 
Sexton, Mr., 184 
Seymour, Admiral Sir Beanebamp 

(afterwards Lord Alcester), 19 
Shaftesbury, Lord, 189 
Shaw, Mr., 243 
Sherbrooke, Viscount, 93, 94, 164 

(see also under Lowe, Mr*) 
Shere AH, 152, 153 
Sheridan, Mr., 89 
Simmons, Sir Lintom, 271 
Smith, Dr. Samuel, 4, 280 
— W. H., 207, 227, 247, 262, 267- 

281 
Smyth, Mr., 185 
Somers, Lord, 35 
Spencer, Lord, 188, 193, 228, 254, 

260, 297, 300 
Spring-Rice, Mr. (afterwards Lord 

Monteagle), 12 
Stanhope, Lord, 5 



INDEX 



339 



Stanley, Colonel (afterwards 16th 

Earl of Derby), 211 
— Lord (afterwards 14tli Earl of 

Derby), 8, 29, 36, 42, 94, 105, 

106, 207 (see also under Derby, 

Lord) 
Stanmore, Lord, 10 
Stansfeld, Mr., 230, 278 
Stephen, Sir James, 11, 15 
Stewart, Colonel, 202 
Stockmar, Baron, 319 
Strachey, Sir John, 162 
Strauss, Dr., 123 
Sullivan, Mr., 253 



Tait, Archbishop, 112, 130, 197 
Taylor, Sir Henry, 11 
Temple, Dr., 112, 113 
Tennant, Sir Charles, 321 
Tennyson, Lord, 2, 200, 201, 317, 

330 
Tewfik Pasha, Khedive of Egy >t, 

195 
ThirlwaU, Bishop, 111 
Todleben, GeneriJ, 144 
Toplauy, 86 
Torrens, Mr., 102, 103 
Trelawny, Sir John, 63 
Trevelyan, Mr., 125, 189, 230 

— Sir Charles, 65 

— Sir George, 15, 246, 246, 318 
Truro, Lord, 6 (see also under 

Wilde, Serjeant) 
Turkey, Sultan of, 137, 307-309, 

311, 312 
Turner, Bishop, 4 



VicTORU, Queen, 29, 30, 42, 43, 63, 
63, 69, 74, 92, 97, 98, 107, 112, 
118, 125, 136, 144, 163, 166, 
178, 218, 219, 228, 238-241, 262, 
304, 305, 315, 316 

Villiers, Mr., 24, 43, 44, 308 



Vincent, Mr. (afterwards Sir) 
Howard, 230 



Waddington, M., 287 
Wales, Prince of, 204,. 262, 310, 
315 

— Princess of, 310 

— Princess Louise of, 262 
Walewski, Count, 62 
Walpole, Mr., 67, 80, 328 
Warren, Sir Charles, 251 
Wauchope, General, 284 
Wellington, Duke of, 9 
Wemyss, Lord, 208 
West, Sir Algernon, 301 
Westbury, Lord, 61 
Westminster, Dean of (Dr. Brad- 
ley), 113 

— Duke of, 94, 138, 309, 313, 321 
Whitbread, Mr., 154, 249 
Wilberforce, Bishop, 92 

— Mr., 20 

— Samuel, 330 

Wilde, Serjeant (afterwards Lord 

Truro), 6, 10, 14 
Willes, Mr. Justice, 119 
William IV., King, 9-11, 13 
Wolff, Sir Henry, 166, 167 
Wolseley, Sir Garnet (afterwards 

Lord Wolseley), 196, 213, 216 
Wood, Sir Charles (afterwards 
Lord Halifax), 44 

— Sir Evelyn, 178 

— Sir William Page, 108 (see also 

under Hatherley, Lord) 
Wordsworth, Charles (afterwards 

Bishop Wordsworth), 6, 15, 18, 

324 
Wortley, Stuart, 10 



Ybh, Governor, 58 
Tork, Archbishop of, 310 
— Duke of, 316 



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trholr we hare nothing but pratae fof th^ hooM^ 

WITFl FORTKAITS OF I'lKT DB WET AND OF A OBOVP OV rvur yATJlUHC BL 

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Being the Diary of the Wife of an Imperial Yeomanry Oflle«r doplig tti 
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HPKCTATltU.—* K very f%s?iiia'.lng book. . . . Wa ny to oar leaden wirboofcthi 
■IlKbtent fw of uiiiilf««ilMg them—*' gM ilM book and rad It.'" 



•I* 



A I4IFETIMB IK 80UTH AFRICA: being the Recollections of 

thi> Vimt Pramier of NBtal. By th« Hon. tUr Joxw lUMixaox, K.OJC.O., Ailhori 

* (tpo'ir« LindoQ,* * Tbo Ooionie* aod the Coitary/ J». I«rg« otowa tvo. lOi; M. 

ACADi:uy,^* Jn tolling the Btory of his Ufa in South AfrioB. Sir John BobiMM raOj 

givvfl the liistory of Nntal. ... AH Interested in South Af lioA will b« glad to mfci Ui 

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SOUTH AFRICA A CENTURY AGO. Letters Written from 

the Ctipe of Good, 1797-1801. fijr the Ladj Ajrirs Barnard. Bditod, with • MeDoit g 

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7». Cd. I 

ATUEN^'EUM.-* . . . Lady Anne's little tuomb-naU skeCehes of Cam aoolatw tad tiie \ 

nelghboaring country are perfectly delightfnl, Inolsire, direct^ and ap^ Atiny, "Sm btin > 

are, in fact, as entcztainlnK as any novel.' 

SOUTH AFRICA : PAST AND PRB8BNT. An Account of 

iu iiubory, i'uliiicd, and Native Afl»kirs, followed by some Personal BemlniaoeHW ol 
African Travel during the Orisls preoedin? the War. By Yikxumt R. if a»»»^m 
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fioUTlI AFIiWA.—* Jl Yolxime which in its wealth of historioal detiU will mo?* of the 
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GLOBE.— ^ BeHlly a helpful work, whioh the student of Sooth AfHoan poUtios should on 
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THE I4IFE AND TIMES OF SIR JOHV OHJLBUH 

MOLTENO, K.C.M.U., First Premier of the Oape Ootony. Oompiiaing a History of 
Bepri'sentative lustitutions and Responsible Government at the Oape, and of Lord 
Camurvon'8 Confederation Policy, and Sir Birtie Frere's High OommivloBKBfaip <rf 
South Africa. By P. A. Moltbno, Author of * A Federal South Aftloa.' S fiJli' 
demy 8vo. with S Portjraits and 4 Haps. S8t. 
SPECTA TOR,—* The work should take permanent rank as an inporfeant coiilritatlon ts 
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RHODESIA AND ITS GOVERNMENT. Dy H. O. Thomsov, 

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IN THE RANKS OF THE CLIT. A Narrative and Diary of 

Perional Experiences with the C.I.Y. Battery in South Africa. By * Daim * 
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JESS. By H. BiDBB Haggabd. lUiiBtrated and thorongbly Bevlsed 
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